Page 0144

REGIONAL INITIATIVES

CANCER CONTROL 2014 143

INCTR (International Network for Cancer Treatment and

Research) led by Dr Ian Magrath (who serves on the OERC

Executive Committee) and is based in Brussels. The

OERC-India plenary presentations at ICC by Drs Lessin and

Pillai, in fact, opened with a 2-minute video by Dr Ian Magrath

outlining the mission and goals of INCTR and its relationship

to OERC. The plan for OERC-India and its objectives have

been previously described in detail in INCTR's annual

publication, Cancer Control 2013.

Thus, oercindia.merlot.org was effectively launched at the

ICC, with Dr Badwe of Mumbai, Medical Director of Tata

Memorial Hospital, assuming the position of Editor in Chief

and appointing editors for medical, surgical and radiation

oncology, as well as oncology nursing and prevention and

screening from the TMC faculty. Dr Rajagopal of Kerala will

serve as Editor for palliative care and Amb Balakrishnan,

Editor for patient advocacy and public education.

OERC-India is an open and free metadata repository of high

quality educational materials selected by and for Indian

cancer health care providers, based on the assessment of

educational needs as determined by Indian oncology

educators and thought leaders. As with the main OERC site

(oerc.merlot.org), OERC India will continue to be hosted and

supported by the professional education and technical staff at

MERLOT and the California State University system. Indian

oncologists and nurses at the ICC greeted the OERC-India

launch with great enthusiasm and confirmed their collective

intention to undertake the ongoing needs assessment,

contribute educational materials and curricula to the site and

to actively utilize the educational modules for the preparation

of teaching programmes. Meetings with leading patient

advocacy and public education leaders confirmed our

perception that the "culture of cancer" in India was in need of

an extensive long-range public education campaign to

"demystify" cancer and its treatment and to move the Indian

"war on cancer" into the public domain with education,

transparency and advocacy.

Oncology nursing

The ICC oncology nursing workshop was well received by

oncology nurses practising in various public and private

settings. This was especially evident in the large numbers who

attended the one day workshop session that focused on

research, safe chemotherapy administration, psychosocial

impact, communication, palliative and preventive care. It was

clear that the establishment of oncology nursing as a specialty

had begun in India and several curricula had been developed at

regional centres. Discussions and questions during the ICC

presentations focused on nurses' working environment, the

lack of resources in most clinical settings as well as limited

resources for advancing educational levels or preparation for

the role of oncology nursing from basic nursing education

post-graduation. Most oncology nurses in India graduate with

a basic nursing education and need advanced education on

oncology nursing content, for example, chemotherapy

pharmacology and administration, symptom and side effect

management and palliative care. Some cancer institutions

provide oncology educational modules for newly hired nurses,

whereas there are a few institutions that provide a one-year

programme for advanced oncology nursing education.

This is an opportunity for OERC-India to provide free open

education learning modules, curricula and seminars, nurse

educators and administrators at these institutions can

download and use. This notion was received well by nursing

college professors and administrators. A need to follow-up on

this first visit is due and is planned for the near future. Indian

oncology nurses who attended the workshop were keen on

leaving their contact information with Professors Savitri

Singh-Carlson and Jeanne Sewell as part of the demographic

data collection, so that they could be contacted later requiring

educational needs. This information will be used as a follow-up

to assess the Indian nurses' needs before developing any

specific curriculum.

Indian oncopolitics

It was also clear to the OERC team that a strong commitment

from government to a "war against cancer" was in its early

stages, with a need to mount a major national anticancer

public education campaign. This was validated in the ICC

public cancer advocacy sessions led by Amb Balakrishnan and

visits by the OERC team with government officials and at

private institutions. The economic impact of cancer as a

leading cause of morbidity, mortality and lost productivity for

a population of 1.4 billion people was well understood.

However, mechanisms to stem this suffering and economic

loss were in early stages of development.

The OERC team repeatedly emphasized at ICC sessions

From its inception, OERC has been

closely affiliated with INCTR

(International Network for Cancer

Treatment and Research) led by Dr

Ian Magrath (who serves on the

OERC Executive Committee) and is

based in Brussels

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