The update of the WHO essential medicines list is a great example of the power of international collaboration and how working closely with other groups around the world can have a significant impact on the entire cancer community. Member organisations had already expressed the increasing need for an update on the WHO essential medicine list, an important starting block to address cancer medicine issues at country level.
As a response for the need expressed by member organisations, and as an example of collaboration leveraging on the close relationship with WHO is the full report of the 20th Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines, containing the 2015 WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (EML) and a dedicated cancer chapter.
UICC has been working closely with WHO on the next cycle of updates to the WHO EML and constantly calls on members and interested stakeholders to provide their expert opinions.
The group of experts, under UICC leadership, worked with WHO to generate a new methodology for the rational selection of essential cancer medicines with the goal of equipping policy makers with the information to help them determine how to best select medicines that will have a major impact on patients in a national setting.
The 2015 list demonstrates a major win for global oncology - featuring 46 cancer medicines and for the first time disease-based listing for both adult and childhood cancers.
UICC members accessing to funding through the “Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community Programme” – The Metastatic Breast Cancer Challenge” to empower organisations worldwide to help reduce the number of women diagnosed at the metastatic stage.
One of the SPARC awardees, Runcie C.W. Chidebe, is 30 years old, and he is the Executive Director of the Health & Psychological Trust Centre in Nigeria, one of the 20 organisations around the world receiving a SPARC grant. Rucie Chidebe’s experience is an example of the national impact that global resources can have on identifying gaps at country level.
He participated in the programme because there are a great percentage of women battling with advanced breast cancer in Nigeria, so the SPARC grant would provide a platform to give a voice to these voiceless, to help some of them who have been abandoned in hospital wards and to support their caregivers/families
Through his work, he has been able to link cancer survivors with patients for them to share smiles and motivate each other through this journey. As part of the SPARC grant, Runcie held a Sensitisation forum for 100 retired midwives and nurses. Here is a summary of his thoughts after the experience:
“We were surprised to see such high interest and passion from the midwives and nurses towards palliative care for patients with advanced breast cancer. Access to pain relief drugs is a major impediment in providing palliative care for women battling with advanced breast cancer, while a robust palliative training is highly needed for the nurses/retired midwives. The Sensitisation Forum has empowered the nurses/retired midwives to become change makers in their facilities/communities; therefore, they are now cancer care advocates for patients battling with advanced breast cancer.”
UICC Capacity Building – SPARC Programme
Pfizer and the UICC have joined forces to offer the Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community (SPARC) Grants, an initiative aimed at empowering advocacy groups, hospital networks, support groups and other organisations worldwide as they initiate projects to close the gap in information, support, awareness, and policy between metastatic breast cancer and early breast cancer, as well as help reduce the number of women diagnosed at the metastatic stage of breast cancer.
Launched in January 2017, C/Can 2025: City Cancer Challenge is a multi- sectoral initiative, supporting cities to take the lead in the design, planning and implementation of cancer treatment solutions.
Led by UICC with the support and involvement of many of its key members and partners, C/Can 2025 aims to increase the number of people with access to quality cancer treatment in cities around the world through a network of motivated partners including city leaders, governments, NGOs, UN agencies, and domestic and international businesses. C/Can 2025 is already working with a small group of Key Learning Cities (KLCs), including Cali, Asunción, Yangon, and Kumasi.
Since the inception of C/Can 2025, UICC member, the Center for Global Health at the U.S. National Cancer Institute has been working with UICC and other members from around the world including American Society of Clinical Pathology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, King Hussein Cancer Center, Tata Memorial Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and many others, to develop a City Assessment Questionnaire. This questionnaire aims to provide an in-depth assessment of the critical core package of interventions for the delivery of a quality cancer care solution in a city and is being tested currently in the C/Can 2025 KLCs.
Beginning in 2018, the ambition is to scale-up C/Can 2025 support to a wide network of “Challenge Cities” that have a population greater than 1 million, in every region. UICC members will have a critical role to play in identifying, supporting and working with cities, as the initiative expands.