IDRC grant awarded for international partnership
October 15, 2013 (Toronto, ON) - CAREX Canada is a collaborator on a new project applying Canadian expertise in occupational exposure surveillance to research in Latin America and the Caribbean. Funded by the International Development Research Centre’s Canadian Partnerships Program, the project will see CAREX team members link up with international researchers to support the development of national CAREX projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Cancer is one of the leading causes of disease and death in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is estimated that 8% of lung cancer cases alone are due to exposure to carcinogens in the workplace, such as asbestos, crystalline silica, and diesel engine exhaust,” explains Dr. Julietta Rodriguez-Guzman, Regional Advisor on Workers’ Health at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
“Yet, there is limited data on the prevalence and levels of exposure to occupational carcinogens, particularly among informal workers. Addressing this data gap is very important for raising the profile of the workplace causes of cancer and preventing it at the source,” she says.
This funding opportunity allows CAREX Canada, in collaboration with the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC), PAHO, and the National Cancer Institute of Colombia, to provide practical guidance for building national CAREX projects. The 28-month endeavor, which is slated to begin in December 2013, will involve a knowledge exchange and capacity-building workshop with over twenty research, policy, advocacy, and private sector representatives from thirteen different countries, as well as ongoing technical assistance from CAREX Canada. The OCRC will coordinate the overall effort and share examples of how CAREX data can be used in surveillance studies and to estimate the burden of occupational cancer.
CAREX Canada’s partnerships in Latin American and the Caribbean began in 2009, at the International Conference on Occupational and Environmental Cancer hosted by the National Cancer Institute of Colombia in Bogota. This meeting brought Latin American and Caribbean industrial hygienists, epidemiologists, physicians, and others together to discuss how to develop CAREX projects and occupational cancer prevention policies and strategies for their own countries. This new project allows us to strengthen these existing partnerships as well as build new working relationships between Canadian and Latin American and Caribbean organizations, aiming to build the Regional CAREX for the Americas, and having the data available for policy and decision makers in the countries.
“Our goal as CAREX Canada is to make information on exposures to carcinogens available and accessible to Canada's cancer prevention and policy arena. We look forward to working with our partners in Latin America and the Caribbean to do the same,” says Paul Demers, Scientific Director of CAREX Canada and Director of the OCRC.
The OCRC's announcement about this project can be found here.