Development of the ‘REadiness SElf-Assessment (RESEA) Guide’ to assist low and middle-income countries with establishing safe and sustainable radiotherapy services: a pragmatic sequential mixed qualitative methods project

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Improving access to radiotherapy services in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) is challenging. Many LMICs’ radiotherapy initiatives fail because of multi-faceted barriers leading to significant wastage of scarce resources. Supporting LMICs to self-assess their readiness for establishing radiotherapy services will help to improve cancer outcomes by ensuring safe, effective and sustainable evidenced-based cancer care. The aim of the study was to develop practical guidance for LMICs on self-assessing their readiness to establish safe and sustainable radiotherapy services.


: The Access to Radiotherapy for Cancer treatment (ARC) Project was a pragmatic sequential mixed qualitative methods design underpinned by the World Health Organisation’s ‘Innovative Care for Chronic Conditions Framework’ and ‘Health System Building Blocks Framework for Action’ conceptual frameworks. This paper reports on the process of overall data integration and meta-inference from previously published components comprising a systematic review and two-part qualitative study (semi-structured interviews and a participant validation process). The meta-inferences enabled a series of radiotherapy readiness self-assessment requirements to be generated, formalised as a RE adiness SE lf- A ssessment (RESEA) Guide’ for use by LMICs.


The meta-inferences identified a large number of factors that acted as facilitators and/or barriers, depending on the situation. ‘Commitment’, ‘cooperation’, ‘capacity’ and ‘catalyst’ were identified as the key domains enabling development of radiotherapy services. Across these four domains, the RESEA Guide included 37 requirements and 120 readiness questions that LMICs need to consider and answer as part of establishing a new radiotherapy service.


: The RESEA Guide provides a new resource for LMICs to self-assess their capacity to establish safe and sustainable radiotherapy services. Future evaluation of the acceptability and feasibility of the RESEA Guide is needed to inform further refinements.
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