Mr Rafael Mariano Grossi
International Atomic Energy Agency
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
World Health Organization
As the global cancer burden continues to rise, low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) are disproportionately affected in terms of cancer cases and deaths. By 2040, over 70% of cancer deaths are expected to occur in LMICs. Recommended interventions for preventing cancer and other noncommunicable diseases have not been adequately implemented, and treatment remains inaccessible in many parts of the world. Globally, an estimated half of people diagnosed with cancer may require radiotherapy as part of their care, yet many countries do not have a single radiotherapy machine. The disparity is particularly acute in Africa where nearly 70% of countries reported that radiotherapy is generally not available to their populations.
Tackling the burden of cancer requires a multi-sectoral, multidisciplinary, and an evidence-based approach founded on universal health coverage for effective cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and palliation. The World Health Assembly has urged all countries to base their national response on a comprehensive strategy to guide cancer prevention and control activities.
The IAEA and WHO have a long-standing collaboration to support Member States to address their cancer burdens. The organizations work together to help countries improve cancer control planning, ensure safe delivery of cancer treatment through a dose audit service to achieve and maintain accurate dosimetry for radiotherapy, and to provide joint guidance on important topics relating to cancer, among others. Our organizations have successfully supported more than 90 governments through imPACT review missions and through WHO cancer initiatives in cervical, childhood and breast cancers.
Complementing these ongoing efforts, a new IAEA initiative, Rays of Hope, is being launched to support Member States in providing their people access to diagnosis and treatment of cancer using radiation medicine, beginning with African countries most in need.
Together, and with Rays of Hope adding new impetus, the IAEA and WHO remain committed to upscaling their long-standing close collaboration toward common goals, closing the cancer care inequity gaps and accelerating progress toward the achievement of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development.
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IAEA/WHO Joint Statement on Reducing Inequity in Access to Cancer Care through Rays of Hope Initiative – World Health Organization
Mr Rafael Mariano Grossi