By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
World Health Organization (WHO) has launched new tools to help countries build effective childhood cancer programmes.
The equipment was designed tohelp countries improve diagnosis and treatment of cancer among children.
It was released on International Childhood Cancer Day (15th February 2021).
WHO disclosed that the package includes a “how-to” guide for policy-makers, cancer control programme managers and hospital managers, as well as an assessment tool to inform implementation, and a multilingual online portal for information-sharing.
“The new tools will support countries with implementation of the CureAll approach, adopted by WHO’s Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer,” the international authority on public health explained.
The initiative, launched in 2018, aims to achieve at least 60 per cent survival for childhood cancer globally by 2030, the United Nations (UN) agency said.
It pointed out that currently, children living in high-income countries have an 80 per cent chance of cure, while less than 30 per cent of children diagnosed with cancer in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) survive.
“During the last two years, the Global Initiative, supported by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a WHO Collaborating Centre in the United States of America, has become active in more than 30 countries and benefits from the participation of more than 120 global partners, WHO narrated.
It stated that those partners work together to support governments with the implementation of the CureAll approach, addressing common reasons for the low survival of children with cancer in LMICs.
“These reasons include late or incorrect diagnosis, insufficient diagnostic capacity, delays in or inaccessible treatment and treatment abandonment,” WHO declared.
It assured that solutions to all of those issues are provided in the new “how-to” guide, which is based on four pillars, namely: centres of excellence with defined referral pathways and a trained workforce; inclusion of childhood cancer in national benefit packages for universal health coverage; treatment standards based on evidence and tailored to local capacity; and robust information systems for continuous monitoring of programme performance.
WHO elaborated that case studies from countries which have begun implementing the CureAll approach, such as Ghana, Peru and Uzbekistan, are also included.