To mark UHC Day, SIOP is proud to highlight collaborative action and partnership with leading international stakeholders in this area.
There are major benefits associated with universal coverage of childhood cancer (sources: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34114307/, CureAll) but childhood cancer is not included in many national UHC schemes, particularly in low-and-middle-income settings. Many young patients and their families encounter barriers in access to diagnosis and care, with dire implications for disease prognosis (source: CureAll).
In 2023, the fundamental role of UHC in childhood cancer was demonstrated in a dedicated side-event at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Entitled “CureAll implementation advancing toward UHC realization and bridging survival gap in childhood cancer”, the initiative was championed by the Slovak Republic and co-hosted by St. Jude Children´s Research Hospital (WHO Collaborating Centre), the World Health Organization, and SIOP (Non State Actor in official relations with the WHO and GICC partner), and supported by many governments. Rejin Kebudi, SIOP Secretary-General, and Joyce Kambugu, SIOP Africa President, participated on site and shared their insights at this momentous occasion.
The side-event focused on UHC as a key pillar of the CureAll framework of WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC). CureAll offers a guide for governments in establishing and sustaining their childhood cancer services to advance towards the GICC goals: 60% childhood cancer survival worldwide by 2030 and alleviated suffering for all.
The political declaration stemming from the overarching UNGA High-Level Meeting calls for efforts to address health needs of all people as part of UHC, including non-communicable diseases such as cancer (source: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N23/306/84/PDF/N2330684.pdf?OpenElement)
There is increasing evidence that curing childhood cancer with good quality survival represents a strong value for money proposition and can serve as a tracer of progress on NCDs. In this light, the side event was an inspiration for further focused action and emphasised the multi-faceted benefits of investing in childhood cancer in other disease areas and overarching health services.
SIOP looks forward to continuing to actively support GICC implementation and the CureAll framework approach for the benefit of children with cancer and other vulnerable populations worldwide.