29 Apr 2021
Journal of cancer education : the official journal of the American Association for Cancer Education
The role of radiotherapy (RT) in cancer care is well described, with a clear correlation between access to radiotherapy and overall survival. Cancer mortality rates in Africa are substantially higher than those of the rest of the world, which may be partly attributed to lack of RT access and insufficient human resources. The Access to Care (A2C) Cape Town RT training programme was created in 2014 with the aim of supplementing practical RT training in the region, focusing on clinics moving from 2 to 3D conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT). The programme makes use of hybrid teaching methods, including pre-course e-learning followed by 17 on-site days of free-thinking design exercises, didactic learning, hands-on treatment planning computer sessions (39% of total teaching time), virtual simulation training and departmental demonstration sessions. Email support is offered to all teams for 3 months after each course to develop clinical protocols. Thirteen teams (radiation oncologist, medical physicist and radiation therapy technologist) from Africa attended the course between 2015 and 2019, with additional participants from seven South African and four international centres. E-learning done on the LäraNära training platform was only successful once formal progress tracking was introduced in 2019 (34% vs. 76% test completion rate). Delays between course attendance and initial clinical use of equipment proved to be detrimental to knowledge retention, with some centres having to send a second team for training. The course will be modified for remote teaching in 2021, to make provision for the global changes in travel due to Covid-19.