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CureAll Framework: WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer
Published: January 1, 2021
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Director-General World Health Organization: Care for cancer, like so many other diseases, reflects the inequalities and inequities in our societies. The impact on children is devastating. Each year, an estimated 400 000 children are diagnosed with cancer around the world. The vast majority of these children live in low- and middle-income countries, where treatment is often unavailable, unaffordable or of poor quality. The survival rate for these children is estimated to be between 15% and 45%. This compares to a survival rate of more than 80% in high-income countries. Where a child lives should not determine whether he or she survives. To address this profound inequity, WHO and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital launched the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer in 2018. The Initiative brings together partners and stakeholders across sectors towards a shared goal of improving health and wellbeing for children with cancer using the CureAll framework as a shared operational approach. By 2030, the Initiative aims to achieve at least 60% survival for childhood cancer globally and reduce suffering for all. This approach aims to take into account the special needs of children, including their development, socioeconomic issues, and family participation in care. It requires a specialized workforce, complex multidisciplinary care and advocacy. In particular, attention must be given to children’s nutrition, psychosocial well-being, neurocognitive and reproductive health, growth and long-term outcomes. We are already seeing progress. Fifteen governments have committed to strengthen childhood cancer programmes, using the CureAll framework described in this document. More than 110 partner organizations have come to the table to support them. Three WHO regional networks have been developed, allowing for rapid expansion of impact to more than 50 countries. This has translated into real improvement in the lives of children with cancer. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage based on primary health care means that governments, health systems, communities, and all other stakeholders must work together to address the underlying inequalities that mean some children have a better chance than others. Every child with cancer, and every child, deserves highquality care. I believe this is a goal within our reach – together.