World Cancer Day 2019 mobilises government leaders: The third "Governments in Action Report" released

30 May 2019

On the heel of the 72nd World Health Assembly, the World Cancer Day 2019 Governments in Action report has been published. 

It’s a timely release and another reminder of the essential role played by governments in prioritising and promoting global public health. 

At the start of the year - just weeks before World Cancer Day - at the World Health Organization Executive Board meeting, “the Board noted the value of world health days as a means of raising public awareness of health issues…[1]. It was an important recognition and significant signal of support for days such as World Cancer Day by the Member States. 

On 4 February 2019, more than 60 governments supported the day - representing 15 more than the previous year. The Governments in Action Report offers a sweeping look at how health ministers and global health leaders throughout the world used the day for purpose-driven action. 

Highlights from the report: 

  • 62 governments across five continents marked World Cancer Day, compared to 47 in 2018 
  • British Prime Minister, Theresa May and India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, both tweeted out their support  
  • A draft bill for a National Oncology Strategy was presented by Poland’s President, while the Health Minister of Mauritius outlined key initiatives, including a free vaccination programme for HPV and the construction of a new cancer centre
  • The Ministries of Health in Brunei Darussalam and Israel released new national cancer data 

“World Cancer Day is an opportune time to raise awareness about cancer and to reflect upon Governmental as well as individual actions across the world against the disease.”
Dr Anwar Husnoo
Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mauritius 

As more and more supporters raise their collective voice on World Cancer Day (see 2019 Impact Report), governments have an opportunity to listen and respond. But not only that, they have the chance to add their voice for even greater public awareness, to improve public dialogue around cancer and to demonstrate leadership in improving the health of their nation. 


About World Cancer Day 

World Cancer Day every 4 February is the global uniting initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). By raising worldwide awareness, improving education and catalysing personal, collective and government action, we’re working together to reimagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equal for all – no matter who you are or where you live.  Because, we believe that cancer isn’t just a health issue but a human issue that touches all of us. 

Created in 2000, World Cancer Day has grown into a positive movement for everyone, everywhere to unite under one voice to face one of our greatest challenges in history.

[1]World Health Organization (2019) Seventy-Second World Health Assembly: Provisional Agenda item 19 Accessed 24 May 2019:

Main photo: Commissioner of Health and Food Safety, European Union Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis speaking at a World Cancer Day event in Greece
Source: Hellenic Cancer Society 

Last update: 
Thursday 13 June 2019