Ground-breaking Moment in Global Campaign Against Childhood Cancer

18. Juni 2015

First World Health Assembly side-event on the global challenges of childhood cancer was convened in Geneva during the 68th World Health Assembly (WHA).

This breakthrough initiative happened during the 68th World Health Assembly (WHA), which is the highest decision making body of the World Health Organization and the world's highest health policy making body. It is attended by delegations from all 194 WHO Member States as well as representatives from other international development organizations and civil society organizations.
The CCI forum on the Global Challenges of Childhood Cancer enabled the Ministers of Health from four countries (Russian Federation, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Ghana and the Republic of the Philippines) to discuss and share progress in the implementation of best practice childhood cancer national models that have contributed to improved access to care and reduced childhood cancer mortality and morbidity. The panelists recommended solutions to overcome barriers that limit access to affordable care and services for children with cancer and survivors of childhood cancer.
The presence of key cancer related resource institutions such as IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), EMA (European Medicines Agency )  and the German Cancer League provided opportunities to hear about the latest updates, emerging  windows of opportunity for priority childhood cancer issues and challenges (e.g., dedicated childhood cancer registries, essential medicines for childhood cancer.)

The key messages that were highlighted in this dialogue included:

  • Every three minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer;
  • Childhood cancer is now the leading Non-communicable disease-related death among children and adolescents in both high-income countries and a growing number of middle-income countries;
  • Huge inequities and disparities exist across countries when it comes to survival rates and quality of care for children with cancer and survivors;
  • There is an urgent need to make childhood cancer a top global child-health priority and to scale-up both global and national initiatives to address the needs of children with cancer, survivors and their families.
  • Treatment for childhood cancer can be cost effective. Inaction has a far-reaching impact on poverty reduction and on ensuring overall health and well-being of children/adolescents. 

This side event is only the start of an ultimate objective which is to facilitate the passing of a resolution on "Addressing Global Childhood Cancer Inequities." To accomplish this important "next step", the Executive Committee of the WHA must agree to include this resolution in the agenda of the 69th WHA. A 2/3 vote is required from the 44 members of this committee.

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© Fotolia/oocoskun
© Fotolia/oocoskun