The names of the finalists for the 2022 CEO and World Cancer Day Awards were released in July. The winners of UICC’s Best CEO and Best World Cancer Day Campaign Awards were announced on 11 October 2022 at UICC’s General Assembly.
UICC’s Best CEO Award acknowledges an outstanding individual from across UICC’s membership who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in managing a cancer control organisation. The award is not meant to reflect career achievements but rather those of the past two years.
The following three CEOs of UICC member organisations were selected as the finalists: Hana Chaar Choueib, General Manager, Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL); Diana Sarfati, Chief Executive Officer, Te Aho o Te Kahu, Cancer Control Agency, New Zealand; Murallitharan Munisamy, Managing Director, National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM).
In considering this year’s award in the context of its theme, leadership through crisis, the judges faced a challenging task in selecting one winner among the three finalists. It was felt that each one of them provided a very different, but equally remarkable, example of a leader’s response to crisis situations; together, the three different stories illustrate what great leadership can achieve in times of crisis:
To highlight the diversity of leadership approaches that have seen the cancer community through the last two very challenging years, the judges have therefore decided that the 2022 CEO Award should be presented to all three finalists. An exceptional decision, in recognition of an exceptional period in time.
The Best World Cancer Day Campaign Award celebrates excellence in cancer advocacy by recognising a particularly strong campaign for 4 February aligned with the theme to improve equity in cancer care.
The winning submission was for the campaign run by Spanish Association Against Cancer. The main objective of their World Cancer Day 2022 campaign was to “generate noise, indignation and activism” around the inequities that exist in cancer care, of which many are not aware. Messages were tailored to reach different audiences: politicians, public figures, influencers, doctors, psychologists, people living with cancer and the general public. All were urged to sign a petition to fight to reduce inequity in cancer care.
The Association also made use of location intelligence technology to reach people via mobile advertising at four spots on Gran Vía in Madrid. The supporting campaign event was attended notably by Queen Letizia of Spain and the Minister of Health. More than 70,000 people signed the petition.
The three other finalists, selected among the many excellent submissions received by UICC, were the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL), the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) and China Anti Cancer Association (CACA).
Hana Chaar Choueib is a passionate leader and advocate in childhood cancer. She has led CCCL for eighteen years, transforming it into the region's centre of reference that has pioneered the treatment of children with cancer, without discrimination and without parents incurring any cost. She has also done so while Lebanon has experienced crisis after crisis that have severely undermined the functioning of the health system. Through political strife in the country, the large inflow of refugees from Syria, the destruction of the Beirut’s port explosion and the COVID-19 pandemic, Hana Chaar Choueib has worked to ensure that all children with cancer in the Lebanese territory continue to access treatment and psychosocial support, regardless of their backgrounds and financial means.
Diana Sarfati was appointed Chief Executive of Te Aho o Te Kahu on 1 December 2019, a new agency set-up to provide leadership for the New Zealand’s cancer sector, only a few months before COVID-19 spread around the world. Diana nevertheless managed to get the fledgling organisation up and running in the midst of a pandemic, rapidly developing practices to identify and minimise the impact of COVID-19 on cancer diagnosis and treatment. She has also put equity at the centre of the Agency’s work and has been a passionate advocate for closing the cancer equity gap for Māori populations and ensuring that cancer care is delivered in a more culturally safe and inclusive way.
Murallitharan Munisamy is the Managing Director of the NCSM and co-Chairperson of NCD Malaysia. He was named a UICC Young Leader in the 2019-20 cohort. He played a crucial role in navigating NCSM successfully through the public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did he make sure that NCSM’s cancer control programmes and services experienced minimal interruption by protecting front-line staff from salary reductions, shoring up its finances and switching many services to telehealth, but he also ensured that NCSM played a crucial role in supporting the Government COVID-19 vaccination programme. This in turn provided an opportunity to increase the scale and depth of NCSM’s cancer-related work, such as prevention and screening, through a deeper reach into the community and stronger ties with health authorities and the Ministry of Health.
The CEO Award is proudly supported by Merck & Co (MSD)
CCCL identified seven significant challenges facing cancer patients in Lebanon in accessing care. A number of outreach activities were organised to highlight these barriers and they can be overcome, including press conferences, negotiations with international institutions to support psychosocial programmes for cancer patients, an HPV vaccine day for childhood cancer survivors to highlight the importance of protecting them from developing a second cancer, as well as expressive therapy and arts and crafts events for children. The campaign received wide press and social media coverage.
CACA organised a campaign on public health education spotlighting the issue of equity. The organisation worked with government entities, universities, institutions, private sector companies and the media on a series of activities focusing on cancer prevention and control. These activities included health education lectures, free clinical consultations, academic presentations, exchanges with cancer survivors and media interviews. A total of 4,268 sessions were organised with 223,000 professionals, scientists and volunteers participating, and CACA circulated some 370,000 educational books and audio and video materials.
Many cancer patients in Pakistan face considerable challenges in accessing care, including a paucity of facilities, long travel distances and high costs. SKMCH&RC provides supports financially over 75% of their cancer patients for their treatment and its campaign focused on geographical disparities, highlighting the work it is doing to build a third cancer hospital in Karachi, following those in Lahore and Peshawar. The hospital is expected to open in 2023. Promotional material was published for the first time in the national language Urdu and received coverage in eight national English and Urdu newspapers as well as on television.
The main objective of the Spanish Association Against Cancer for World Cancer Day 2022 was to “generate noise, indignation and activism” around the inequities that exist in cancer care, of which many are not aware. Messages were tailored to reach different audiences: politicians, public figures, influencers, doctors, psychologists, people living with cancer and the general public. All were urged to sign a petition to fight to reduce inequity in cancer care. The Association also made use of location intelligence technology to reach people via mobile advertising at four spots on Gran Vía in Madrid. The supporting campaign event was attended notably by Queen Letizia of Spain and the Minister of Health. More than 70,000 people signed the petition.