Dear SIOP members and colleagues caring for children and adolescents with cancer all over the world,
Now that our 2020 Virtual congress is over, it is time to reflect on what we have learnt from that experience and how we can continue to support our members to face the challenges of the coming year.
The good news is that 3,350 delegates registered, representing a 24% increase in attendance compared to last year’s Congress in Lyon. Delegates came from 134 countries, with 40% working in low- and middle-income countries and several countries and many delegates attending for the first time. Thus, SIOP 2020 is our largest and most diverse congress to date. We aim to retain these benefits of the virtual congress in planning a hybrid format for SIOP 2021 in Honolulu.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact on our patients, the healthcare workforce and how care is provided. SIOP is in direct communication with the WHO Director General to advocate for the needs of children and young people with cancer to be explicitly included in national COVID-19 recovery planning. Our statement to the WHO Executive Board’s special session on the COVID-19 response was published here. We’ll be working with the WHO childhood cancer team and the SIOP Continental Presidents to support regional recovery planning wherever we can.
The SIOP board is now starting to plan how we implement our new strategy. This requires working with many partners and will provide multiple opportunities for SIOP members to be more involved in our work. Julia Challinor, our Secretary General, is leading the governance review of all our committees and working groups, together with the continental presidents and the SIOP PODC co-chairs. Getting involved in projects supported through these leadership teams is one way we can support you to deliver progress and advocacy work at a local, regional and global level. We will be promoting such opportunities to the membership early in the new year.
As we approach the end of the year, with many of us under renewed COVID restrictions, don’t forget that the SIOP 2020 congress platform remains open until January 13, 2021. It is still possible to register to have access and I encourage all of you who attended to pick your personal highlights to share with your local colleagues in departmental or educational virtual meetings.
SIOP President, and on behalf of the SIOP Board of Directors