The power of data to drive progress on Universal Health Coverage

Dr Cary Adams speaking at WHA72
23 May 2019

23 May 2019 | Geneva, Switzerland – Universal Health Coverage will not be possible without reliable data on births, mortality, health service coverage and other elements. Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) co-hosted a well-attended side event on this topic at the 72nd World Health Assembly.

The session titled ‘Leaving no one behind? Tracking ‘Health for All’ from rhetoric to reality’, attracted a lot of interest from government representatives, non-governmental organisations, and other civil society representatives. 

Participants of the panel highlighted the importance of data to improve equitable access to services and shared practical examples of where and how health information systems are being developed. 

“Communities play a very important role in both the generation of data and its use in holding governments accountable”, said Dr Peter Ghys, Director of Strategic Information and Evaluation at UNAIDS. 

Cancer registries need to be part of the information and data systems, as Dr Marion Pineros, scientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) pointed out. “Unfortunately, less than 10% of low- and middle-income countries have quality data from such cancer registries. Not knowing which types of cancer are the most frequent ones in a country makes it impossible for a government to know which drugs to invest in.” 

“Countries lacking the necessary information need to improve the situation” –said Romain Santon, Senior Program Officer, Asia and Pacific at Vital Strategies. 

Dr Cary Adams, CEO of UICC and chair of the event made it clear that UICC is fully committed to supporting the work on data systems, in particular cancer registries, in order to help attain the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The event was also co-hosted by NCD Alliance, UK Working Group on NCDs, UNAIDS, Childhood Cancer International, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Medicines Patent Pool, Rad-Aid, WHPCA, and the World Stroke Organization. 

Last update: 
Friday 7 June 2019