ESMO, the leading European professional organisation for medical oncology, presented an official statement supporting the 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution that was discussed at the 140th session of the WHO Executive Board meeting in Geneva, 23-31 January 2017.
Dr Alexandru Eniu, Chair of the ESMO Global Policy Committee, declared that "ESMO supports the 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution which will improve access and affordability of cancer care and its integration into national healthcare systems: because as medical oncologists we want to assure that our patients have timely access to safe, high-quality medicines, treatment and care that are both accessible and affordable."
ESMO's statement advocates for a robust and comprehensive Cancer Resolution that can help drive national progress, particularly in low- and middle-income countries that face the biggest challenges of a rapidly growing cancer burden. The Cancer Resolution will be a landmark document for cancer and calls for the development and implementation of national cancer plans, population-based cancer registries, a world cancer report and a well-trained oncology workforce. ESMO President Fortunato Ciardiello commented: "Any kind of public health system should strongly encourage cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Whatever a country can afford, health is a citizen's right and the community should try to give this right to all citizens."
An ESMO delegation of officers and senior staff attended the 140th session of the WHO Executive Board meeting, where topics relevant to the practice of medical oncology were discussed, such as access to medicines, the implementation of the current WHO Global Strategy on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and a Cancer Resolution. As a non-State actor in official relations with WHO, ESMO is invited to attend WHO Governing Bodies meetings and post position statements, making its views known prior and during any debate.
There was widespread agreement by Member States of the need for a 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution, which will provide specific recommendations on cancer management to complement the Global Strategy on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases 2013-2020. The majority of the Resolution was accepted with great support.
WHO Member States will continue to work on the final text with the goal that it can be presented for adoption at the 2017 World Health Assembly in May 2017. In the meantime, ESMO and its national partner societies worldwide will continue their dialogues with Ministries of Health to encourage as many countries as possible to vote in favour of adopting the Resolution in May.