UICC is pleased to announce the selection of a new cohort of 20 “Country Champions”, UICC member organisations who will be joining the Cancer Advocates programme in 2021. They come from regions across the globe, with significant representation from Eastern Mediterranean countries, including Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan and Sudan.
It is an honour to be part of the Cancer Advocates programme, We are happy as a Foundation to partake in this personal and professional opportunity of development.
– Dr. Orlando Benito Granera, Founder and Vice-Presidnent, Fundación Movicancer, Nicaragua, Fundación Movicancer, newly appointed Country Champion
With the Cancer Advocates programme, UICC offers these civil society organisations a strategic opportunity to sustain and develop their advocacy work by strengthening their organisational capacity and networks. They will receive technical support and guidance, including a handbook on coalition building, advocacy, fundraising and monitoring and evaluation, with a supporting online course. They will also receive advice and insight from experts and peers to raise the profile of their organisations as well as increase their ability to develop evidence-based advocacy messages and engage with key decision-makers effectively, thus influencing national policies and legislation on cancer and health.
The newly selected Country Champions will be advancing the cause of different types of cancer, including women’s cancers, with some focusing on the implementation of the Global Strategy to eliminate cervical cancer by promoting HPV vaccination and early detection. Others plan to focus on how to finance and strengthen national health policies, and advocate for developing national cancer control plans and cancer registries.
In their efforts to voice the needs of cancer patients and address challenges that stand in the way of equitable access to health services, UICC Country Champions bring about change in their communities and countries. In this way, they put in action the provisions contained in the World Health Assembly cancer resolution approved in 2017.
“Far from feeling isolated in our work, we are part of a caring and supporting community. Not only does the Cancer Advocates programme build capacity, but it is an excellent networking opportunity. There is not one organisation or individual who does it all perfectly, but when we network and share our challenges and successes, we build hope and confidence to continue in our personal efforts."
– Rolf Hansen, Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Association of Namibia, 2019 Country Champion
Working in low- and middle-income countries, participants in the Cancer Advocates programme often represent and advocate for the most marginalised and vulnerable populations, whose voices are otherwise little heard. These organisations are well-positioned to engage the general public through awareness campaigns and community outreach, including on the occasion of World Cancer Day. In addition, they can organise training programmes to strengthen the capacity of health workers, which is key to inclusive and equitable health services to leave no one behind.
Past Country Champions who joined the programme in 2019 faced, of course, significant challenges and delays generated by the pandemic. Nevertheless, they continued their work and some achieved significant results.
“Despite the pandemic, we achieved a lot in 2020 thanks to the skills acquired in the Cancer Advocates programme. We prioritised childhood cancer – the most neglected cancer in Mongolia – and were successful in setting up a journalists’ club and organising a first forum on childhood cancer to increase awareness. We also worked closely with the Ministry of Health to instate an official working group on childhood cancer at the ministerial level, conduct a situational and stakeholder analysis, and draft a policy document on childhood cancer. As a result, our government just recently received official funding for 2020-2023 from WHO and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to address childhood cancer in Mongolia.”
– Tsegi Batmunkh, Founder and CEO of the National Cancer Council of Mongolia, 2019 Country Champion