Expanding best practices for implementing evidence-based cancer control strategies in Africa: The 2019–2020 Africa Cancer Research and Control ECHO Program

Document Type


Publication Date



Background Cancer is a major public health problem which requires evidence-based, resourced and well-managed National Cancer Control Plans (NCCPs). However, challenges exist for African countries in developing and implementing functional NCCPs. Hence, the Africa Cancer Research and Control ECHO Program (Africa Cancer ECHO) aims to increase knowledge and utilization of evidence-based practices to strengthen NCCPs in Africa.

Methods The 2019–2020 Africa Cancer ECHO employed the Project ECHO® model™ to conduct monthly hour-long sessions about cancer control, among cancer control professionals in Africa and international partners. Sessions ran from March 2019 to August 2020. Sessions outcomes were documented throughout the year, followed by an online self-evaluation survey of the participants in July 2020. Quantitative data was analysed using Excel and qualitative data analysed thematically.

Results 157 participants registered for the Africa Cancer ECHO. 24 sessions were conducted for the year 2019–2020. More than 70 % of the participants increased their knowledge, confidence, and ability to implement evidence-based cancer control strategies in their settings. Over 80% indicated that sessions were relevant to their work and met their learning goals and expectations. Recommendations included: use of evidence from population-based cancer registries to direct cancer control; encouraging clinician scientists to generate locally-relevant research questions; embracing information technology and electronic medical records systems; forming partnership and leveraging existing initiatives; and using regular costed cancer control priorities for advocacy and government involvement.

Conclusion The 2019–2020 Africa Cancer ECHO increased utilization of evidence-based cancer control practices among cancer control leaders; and recommends use of data, partnerships, and locally-driven solutions to direct the cancer control effort in Africa.

Policy summary The Africa Cancer ECHO is a viable method for engaging leaders and partners in a continuous learning and networking process. There is value to investing in such initiatives, as they advance knowledge, familiarity, confidence, partnerships, and leadership in cancer control.