The SIOP Advocacy Task Force is delighted to announce that a Cancer Resolution was adopted at the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, May 2017.
For those unfamiliar with the World Health Assembly, it is a chance for Ministers of Health from the 194 WHO members (countries) to assemble in Geneva at the Palace of Nations and address major policy questions, approve the WHO work program and budget and in the appropriate year, elect the Director General.
According to our partner UICC, in advocating for passage of the Cancer Resolution, 44 countries made supportive statements and at least 18 countries were listed a sponsor. The most current draft of the resolution is available at this link and a final draft is expected imminently on the WHO website.
SIOP members whose Ministers of Health were on the WHO Executive Board were asked by the SIOP Advocacy Task Force to send letters from SIOP requesting support for additional language to be included in the Cancer Resolution specifically addressing childhood cancers. In addition, once it became clear the Cancer Resolution draft would be considered by a subgroup led by Colombia, more letters were written to members of the writing group again requesting the inclusion of specific childhood cancer text. We are very grateful to all SIOP members who participated in this effort, which successfully now includes Childhood and Adolescent Cancer in the new Cancer Resolution.
Of note is that this year, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia from 2012–2016 and Minister of Health, Ethiopia from 2005–2012 was elected as new Director General of WHO. Dr. Tedros will assume office from Dr. Margaret Chan on July 1, 2017. Ethiopia is a target country in SIOP’s collaboration with WHO (along with Fiji, Kazakhstan, Ghana and Myanmar). WHO/SIOP/CCI and The Aslan Foundation held a 2-day workshop on childhood cancer in May 2016.
SIOP will re-submit its application for official NGO status with WHO in July 2017. We hope that our members’ work to advocate for adoption of the Cancer Resolution and on-going in-country advocacy for children and adolescents with cancer across the world and specifically in our WHO target countries will mean a successful application for official NGO status in January 2018.
Please join us in Washington, DC for the 49th SIOP Congress for the Advocacy Symposium on Saturday October 14, 2017 from 1430-1600. The topic will be:
Global Childhood Cancer Agenda: Oceania Childhood Cancer Care Initiatives Exemplar
For the Advocacy Task Force,
Gabriele Calaminus (Head Global Advocacy)