4th Charles Mérieux cConference, Vientiane March 14-15, 2013: facing the challenge of cancer in the Mekong Basin

June 3, 2013

More than 80 doctors, academics, researchers and students from 6 countries (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, France, Canada / Quebec gathered at the Christophe Mérieux Infectiology Centre of Laos (CICML) in Vientiane on March 14th and 15th 2013 for the 4th Charles Mérieux Conference. The meeting was organised as part of the 25th Jacques Cartier Meetings, in partnership with the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and Fondation Mérieux.

The conference’s theme was: “Cancer and infectious agents in the Mekong Basin: What intervention strategies and training?”.

The available epidemiological data for Mekong and the wide disparity between countries in terms of resources and priorities fueled a debate on the strategies to be implemented to optimize the fight against cancer in the region. Three workshops were held: the first on training strategies, the second on prevention, the third on the care and treatment of patients with cancer.

The three issues debated were:

  • How to face the challenge of cancer in Mekong Basin countries
  • How to avoid the health crisis announced by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) for the next decade
  • How to reduce inequalities in access to care in the least developed countries

The work and discussions among participants generated recommendations on training needs, epidemiological surveillance, prevention and therapies.

The recommendations focused on three main areas: capacity building, implementing the most cost-effective prevention and screening strategies and improving patient care. It is imperative to take action on several fronts simultaneously, through a national plan that is multidisciplinary and structured.