Radiation oncologist helps modernize cancer treatments in multiple continental regions
Dr. Mohamed Fazal Manji is a recipient of the 2022 Royal College M. Andrew Padmos International Collaboration Award
Reflecting on his international career achievements, Tanzania-born radiation oncologist Mohamed (Mo) Fazal Manji, MD, DMRT, DABRT, FRCPC, shares why being a global citizen and participating in projects abroad is a fulfilling experience.
“Working internationally heightened my awareness that people in countries outside Canada, especially in less developed countries, do also get cancer and they also deserve the same type of treatments as patients in more developed countries,” he says.
The clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC), known to his colleagues in Canada and internationally as Dr. Mo Manji, was awarded the 2022 Royal College M. Andrew Padmos International Collaboration Award for his lifelong dedication to helping patients and medical professionals in multiple continental regions.
Specialized in treating patients with pelvic malignancies – i.e., lower gastrointestinal, gynecological and genitourinary malignancies – Dr. Mo Manji completed his Radiation Oncology residency training at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Sunnybrook Hospital.
He then joined BC Cancer as a consultant in 1979 and to this day, is working in Kelowna at one of their six regional care centres.
His work at BC Cancer coincides with his work at UBC teaching medical students and residents.
Modernizing oncology departments leads to impact
Dr. Mo Manji’s inspiration to help improve cancer treatments outside Canada stems from his experience as a locum in Saudi Arabia, where in 1992 he noticed a high number of cancer – diagnosed in higher stages – among patients from local communities.
Collaboratively with colleagues, he dedicated 12 years to modernizing King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre’s Radiation Oncology Department. To achieve their goal at the tertiary referral centre in the Middle East, they helped the Riyadh-based institution train staff and obtain new technology.
“With a group of consultants from Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Denmark, and returning Saudi Fellows and assistant radiation oncologists from Egypt, India and Pakistan, we were able to modernize the department with new state of the art radiation units including brachytherapy units,” says Dr. Mo Manji.
“We also wrote treatment guidelines in collaboration with our medical, surgical and gynecologic oncology colleagues,” he adds. “These guidelines were eventually extended to other cancer centres in Saudi Arabia.”
Training staff to use the latest technology and guidelines was equally important. To do that, Dr. Mo Manji and his colleagues helped facilitate arrangements to send local doctors for Radiation Oncology training in Canada.
The result of their contributions was impactful and led to a ripple effect for the entire hospital.
“At the time that I left King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, most of the departments had many North American-trained specialists in all specialties, including oncology. It really had a positive impact in the delivery of health care in the country,” says Dr. Mo Manji.
In 2004, Dr. Mo Manji, together with his Radiation Oncology and medical physicist colleagues from Canada, also helped establish oncology departments at the Aga Khan University hospitals in Karachi, Pakistan and Nairobi, Kenya.
A proud physician
“I am proud of all of them,” says Dr. Mo Manji after highlighting projects he contributed to abroad since he moved to Canada in 1972.
“I feel very proud in receiving this award [M. Andrew Padmos International Collaboration Award] and even prouder that it is related to the work I learned here in Canada and was able to provide internationally as well.”