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WHO Announces New Global Childhood Cancer Initiative


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THE AMERICAN Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) supported the World Health Organization’s (WHO) announcement of a new global initiative to address the disparity between childhood cancer survival in low-middle versus high-income countries. The announcement came at the United Nations General Assembly’s side meeting on childhood cancer, which was organized by the Missions of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, El Salvador, the Republic of Moldova, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Philippines, and the Russian Federation. Funded through a donation from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer partners with national and international stakeholders including Childhood Cancer International to provide leadership and technical assistance to support governments in building and sustaining childhood cancer programs.

Ruth Hoffman

Ruth Hoffman

“Childhood cancer is the number one noncommunicable disease cause of death in children globally,” said Ruth Hoffman, ACCO’s Chief Executive Officer and President of Childhood Cancer International. “Childhood cancer has no borders. Why should childhood cancer treatments and cures? Even in the United States, the majority of children with cancer continue to be treated with old drugs that were developed in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. These drugs cost very little yet are too often unavailable to the majority of children with cancer in the world who happen to live in low-to middle-income countries. With increased access to essential childhood cancer medicines and radiation, children can be cured of their disease regardless of where they live in the world.”

Goals of the Global Childhood Cancer Initiative

BY INCREASING political commitment and capacity of countries to deliver best practices in childhood cancer diagnosis and treatment, supporting governments in the development of high-quality cancer centers, and improving access to affordable child cancer medicines and technologies, the WHO Global Childhood Cancer Initiative hopes to achieve at least 60% survival for all children with cancer by 2030. This represents an approximate doubling of the current cure rate and will save an additional one million children’s lives over the next decade.

This initiative is founded on the World Health Assembly’s resolution Cancer Prevention and Control through an Integrated Approach, which urges governments and WHO to accelerate action to achieve the targets specified in the Global Action Plan and 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development to reduce premature mortality from cancer. ■


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