WHO has announced its provision of free cancer treatment for children in 12 countries.
The World Health Organisation announced this in a statement released on Monday.
The UN health agency said it was collaborating with St Jude Children Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.
The WHO said it was providing cancer medications for children in low and middle-income countries.
The goal was aimed at improving and increasing access to childhood cancer medicines around the world.
“The Global Platform for Access to Childhood Cancer Medicines will provide an uninterrupted supply of quality-assured childhood cancer medicines to low-and middle-income countries at no cost,” the WHO said in the press release.
Meanwhile, they are yet to decide the 12 countries. The statement confirmed that discussions are ongoing.
In the first phase, medicines will be bought and distributed to 12 countries. This would be done through a process involving governments, cancer centres and nongovernmental organisations who are in the business of cancer care.
The WHO reports that 400,000 children develop cancer globally. Most of these children live in middle and low-income countries. Also, cancer medications are limited or inaccessible in these countries. The lack of medicine has led to the death of almost 10, 000 children yearly.
So, the WHO says this scheme would provide safe and effective cancer drugs to 120,000 children. This would be done in five years which begins in 2022.
The WHO said in 2020, 29 per cent of people in low-income countries have access to cancer medicines. However, 96 per cent of people in high-income countries have access to cancer medicines.
The platform will provide the following to ensure that effective care is provided.
- End-to-end support to shape the market.
- Assist countries with the selection of medicines.
- Develop treatment standards.
- Build information systems.
St Jude Children Research Hospital will invest $200 million investment to launch the platform. This investment would run for six years. Medicines will be provided to countries involved in the first phase.
The WHO President, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said the initiative would bridge access to cancer care. This would also save life and support the families of the children.
“Close to nine in ten children with cancer live in low-and middle-income countries,” the WHO DG noted
“Survival in these countries is less than 30 per cent, compared with 80 per cent in high-income countries. This new platform, which builds on the success of the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer launched with St. Jude in 2018, will help redress this unacceptable imbalance and give hope to many thousands of parents faced with the devastating reality of a child with cancer.”
Also, the president and CEO of St. Jude, Dr James R. Downing, said that the platform will help ensure children everywhere have access to safe cancer medications.
Source: PUNCH HealthWise