Daily Archives: December 3, 2019

Varian Further Expands Access to Care in Africa to Address Growing Cancer Burden

PALO ALTO, California, Dec. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — According to the World Health Organization, the number of new cancer cases diagnosed per year in Africa is expected to grow from over 1 million in 2018 to over 2.1 million in 2040. Continuing its program of expanding access to advanced cancer treatments in Africa to help address this issue, Varian (NYSE: VAR) announced the Halcyon treatment system has been installed at three additional clinics in the region. The Halcyon radiotherapy system was designed to expand the availability of high-quality cancer care globally and help save the lives of millions more cancer patients.

Halcyon is designed to simplify and enhance virtually every aspect of image-guided volumetric intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), including improved patient comfort and resulting outcomes. The three additional cancer centers that have now installed the treatment system include:

  • Centre National d’Oncologie, Nouakchott, Mauritania – The Halcyon system joins a Varian Clinac® iX radiotherapy system already installed at the center and will provide advanced treatments such as IMRT and VMAT to patients.
  • Centre Hospitalier Nganda, Kinshasa, Congo – This installation replaces an older radiotherapy system, and is the only radiotherapy unit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Lagos Teaching University Hospital (LUTH) Lagos, Nigeria – The Halcyon system was installed in a reformed cobalt room as part of a comprehensive three-linear accelerator project and replaces a less advanced system at the center.

“Varian is working closely with its clinical partners across Africa to help address this growing cancer burden,” said Chris Toth, president Varian Oncology Systems. “We are proud to see the Halcyon system installed at these centers and bringing much need care to cancer patients.”

With the innovations in Halcyon, the system delivers high quality treatments which empower clinicians to care for more patients. Halcyon features a streamlined workflow that only requires nine steps from the start to the end of treatment compared to up to more than 30 steps with older technologies. To assist in the reduction of time and construction costs from installation to first patient treatment, Halcyon offers expedited commissioning, requires less shielding than traditional systems, can fit in the majority of existing small vaults, and can be installed in two weeks or less.

About Varian
At Varian, we envision a world without fear of cancer. For more than 70 years, we have developed, built and delivered innovative cancer care technologies and solutions for our clinical partners around the globe to help them treat millions of patients each year. With an Intelligent Cancer Care approach, we are harnessing advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics to enhance cancer treatment and expand access to care. Our 10,000 employees across 70 locations keep the patient and our clinical partners at the center of our thinking as we power new victories in cancer care. Because, for cancer patients everywhere, their fight is our fight. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com and follow @VarianMedSys on Twitter.

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Sudan Tanker Explodes at Ceramics Factory

KHARTOUM – A gas tanker exploded at a ceramics factory in Khartoum on Tuesday, killing at least 23 people and injuring dozens more.

Eyewitnesses in the Sudanese capital said the tanker exploded while a shipment was being unloaded.

Doctors at Bahari Hospital in north Khartoum made an urgent appeal for all medical personnel to come to the hospital to help treat the burn victims.

“I could see in one [ward] seven injured and in another ward there were 12 injured, and all of them are in critical condition where they are unable to see or talk,” reporter Michael Atit told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.

Atit said eyewitnesses told him the injured were people who had been sitting outside the factory and that “people who were in the factory, none of them survived, none of them actually came out.”

News reports said people were being called on to donate blood.

Atit cited the hospital’s doctors as saying more than 200 people were believed to be inside the factory at the time of the blast. South Sudan in Focus could not verify that figure. Atit said police officials and investigators were at the hospital trying to gather information from witnesses.

Source: Voice of America

Cameroon Says 250 Ex-Militants Surrendered in 2019

BAMENDA – Cameroon says over 250 former militants, including Boko Haram terrorists and anglophone separatists, have surrendered in the past year and are being rehabilitated. But former rebels say lack of trust in Cameroon’s military is preventing more militants from dropping their weapons.

A group of six former militants clean a pig farm at the Bamenda center of the National Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation Committee.

The committee says, in the last year, 130 anglophone rebels and 122 Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered for reintegration.

Besides raising pigs and chickens, the center’s residents � all former insurgents – also learn tailoring, carpentry, and how to grow vegetables.

Among those tending to the pigs is a 22-year-old who, for security reasons, we’ll call Ngumulah.

He said many of his former comrades fighting for an independent, English-speaking state in Cameroon’s western regions are tired after three years of battles and are ready to surrender, as he did.

“The fighters want to come, but they are afraid that the military would arrest them. Like my own case, when I went to surrender without guns, I was locked up for two months. Many fighters do not trust the military. They saw the military burning villages and killing people. So, for now, they don’t trust them.”

Alleged human rights abuses

Rights groups have accused both sides in Cameroon’s separatist conflict, including the military, of serious human rights abuses.

Governor of the Southwest region Bernard Okalia Bilai denies any military abuses.

He said no one should be afraid because President Paul Biya, who is the commander-in-chief of the military, has given firm instructions that no fighter who drops his weapons as a sign of repentance should be arrested, killed or sent to prison. The fighters should trust their government, said Bilai, and be informed that they will be socially and economically reintegrated as soon as they disarm.

But Biya has also vowed to crush fighters who do not surrender, while separatists target those seen as traitors.

One rebel was murdered in the town of Wum in October just a day after he publicly announced his surrender, raising security concerns.

Separatists on social media acknowledged they killed the former rebel and vowed to attack Cameroon’s rehabilitation centers.

The rehabilitation committee’s national coordinator Francis Fai Yengo says they have increased security at the centers. He said they also do not allow anyone who enters rehabilitation at the centers to leave.

“The government secures them, secures them because they are also in trouble,” said the coordinator. “Trouble in the hands of their friends who have not yet come out of the bush. Trouble with the society. They have done a lot of unfortunate and bad things. We do not want to have a problem in our conscience that somebody leaves the center and is killed by his friends or by whoever. So, when a young man stands and says look, I want to go back, do you think it is responsible for us to send him back?”

Yengo said when peace returns to Cameroon’s areas of conflict, the former insurgents who are rehabilitated will be allowed to settle on their own.

But it’s not clear when the fighting will end. Sporadic Boko Haram attacks still occur along Cameroon’s border with Nigeria while its English-speaking regions see regular clashes between the military and rebels.

The separatists launched their war in 2016, citing alleged domination by the country’s French-speaking majority. Since 2016, the war has killed close to 3,000 people and displaced half a million.

Source: Voice of America

Tunisian PM-Designate Expects Government Next Week

CARTHAGE, TUNISIA – Tunisia’s prime minister-designate Habib Jemli expects to form a government next week with political independents holding most of the important portfolios, he said on Tuesday.

Jemli, who was named to the job by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party which finished first in October’s election, added that he would continue with economic reforms begun under previous governments, but would implement them differently.

“I expect to finish forming the government next week,” he told Reuters in an interview at the government office in Carthage.

October’s parliamentary election resulted in a deeply fractured parliament with no party winning more than a quarter of seats, complicating the process of coalition building.

Jemli said he would give the interior, justice, defense and foreign ministries to political independents who are unaffiliated with the big parties and that Ennahda understood this.

His choice of finance minister is somebody with a high local and international profile able to negotiate with foreign partners, Jemli said, without revealing the person’s name.

“Economic reforms and combating widespread corruption in all parts of the state will be my priority,” he said.

“Reforms are necessary, but with a new methodology. They must be in partnership with the labor union,” he added.

The union has opposed some government efforts to tighten public spending while foreign lenders have urged lower deficits.

The issue of corruption was thrust further into the political spotlight this autumn with the election of President Kais Saied, a political independent, a week after the parliamentary vote.

Saied, who as president has fewer immediate powers than the prime minister, ran an austere campaign that spent very little money and was portrayed by supporters as a figure of rigid personal integrity.

Tunisia’s economy has suffered years of low growth since the 2011 revolution that ended autocracy and introduced democratic rule, with successive governments struggling to create jobs and tame inflation.

Big increases in state jobs and public sector pay after the revolution contributed to large deficits and growing government debt, which the outgoing administration has tried to rein in through reforms backed by the International Monetary Fund.

Jemli said he planned to digitize more government functions, to improve governance of state-run companies, where performance has drastically declined since the revolution, and reduce bureaucracy.

Previous governments had gone wrong in failing to stick to the pledges they had made to international lenders regarding economic growth and the size of the public sector wage bill, he said.

Source: Voice of America