UICC’s Cancer Advocates programme aims to strengthen the ability of member organisations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to advocate for improved cancer control. In addition to receiving expert guidance, technical support and personalised mentoring, selected Country Champions will build a network with other organisations in their countries to identify and lead on the implementation of national advocacy strategies. They will also connect with experts on the frontlines of health and development who have experience in campaigning and advocacy.
UICC launched its call for expressions of interest on Tuesday 15th September and will close the call on 15th October. Selection criteria include the degree of need for technical support on coalition building, advocacy, fundraising, monitoring and evaluation; how the member organisation plans to use the skills acquired to design and implement an advocacy strategy; and the organisation’s ability to commit to the programme.
Selected member organisations from LMICs must commit to a year-long engagement involving about three hours of work per week for the first six months and the monthly submission of completed modules. Organisations will be expected to launch a national advocacy strategy on World Cancer Day 2022, in conjunction with other organisations. They will then pursue the strategy with relevant stakeholders in their countries and monitor progress.
Prospective applicants will have the opportunity to meet and exchange with past Country Champions at an upcoming webinar on 24th September, and learn about the significant progress they have made since joining the programme in 2018. These different organisations have focused on different aspects of cancer care, including prevention and early detection, treatment, care and support as well as awareness and education.
In Latin America, the Salvadorian Association for the Prevention of Cancer (Asociación Salvadoreña para la prevención del Cáncer or ASAPRECAN) leveraged the collective voices of several stakeholders to create a new national coalition aiming to strengthen national legislation on access to treatment and care. This new coalition was presented to key decision-makers on World Cancer Day 2020 and has agreed as a primary objective to advocate for the approval of renewed legislation, which will mandate the level of funding for cancer prevention and control plans in the country.
The National Cancer Council in Mongolia decided to focus on addressing a national gap on childhood cancer, advocating for the approval of a childhood cancer control plan and the establishment of a childhood cancer registry. So far, the Council has laid the foundations for the creation of a support programme for children with cancer, including informative books and manuals and accommodation support for children and their parents. This is accompanied by a strategy to raise investment and action on childhood cancer as a priority in the national health agenda.
The Kenyan Network of Cancer Organisations (KENCO) engaged with government authorities to raise the financing of cancer control programmes, including the construction and operation of four cancer centres to support the delivery of comprehensive and affordable cancer care services in the country.
"The mentorship we received and continue to receive from UICC has really propelled us to great heights and we hope to continue doing more for greater impact in cancer control."
- Christine Mugo-Sitati, Executive Director, KENCO
When the country started to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, KENCO used its network to work collaboratively with the government to issue urgent recommendations for cancer patients. KENCO also released a Call to Action statement on "The first 100 days through the eyes of a cancer patient", caregiver and survivor only weeks after the first case of COVID-19 was pronounced in Kenya, encouraging the government to continue to address the needs of patients even during the pandemic and ensuring that cancer control remained a top health priority.
These three organisations are examples, amongst many, showcasing the hard work and achievements of the Country Champions. They provide prospective applicants with concrete examples of what can be achieved with the support of the Cancer Advocates programme, and through collective action and effective national action.
Join our upcoming webinar learn more about the Cancer Advocates programme and becoming a Country Champion.
Visit the Cancer Advocates programme webpage and apply to become a Country Champion.