WHO - World Health Organization

09/21/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/21/2023 10:28

WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the UNGA side-event: CureAll implementation advancing toward UHC realization and bridging survival gap in childhood cancer – 21[...]

Organizers: Republic of Slovakia, St Jude's Research Hospital, WHO

Your Excellency Michal Palkovic, Minister of Health of the Republic of Slovakia,

Your Excellency Auxillia Mnangagwa, First Lady of Zimbabwe,

Honourable Minister Vizzotti,

Dr Jim Downing,

Excellencies, dear colleagues and friends,

I thank the Republic of Slovakia for sponsoring this event, and St Jude for its outstanding partnership.

Every year, an estimated 400 thousand children are diagnosed with cancer in low- and middle-income countries.

Unfortunately, high quality treatment is often unavailable and unaffordable.

As a result, survival for children in these countries is less than 30 percent, compared with more than 90 percent for children in high income countries.

Young lives cut short simply because of where they born.

Imagine if this happened to your child, or mine.

Five years ago, with our partners from St Jude, we made a commitment to tackle this great health inequity.

I have just come from the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.

The political declaration countries have approved is a strong statement of their commitment to making UHC a reality, and not just a concept.

Because for children with cancer, UHC can be the difference between life and death.

It means earlier diagnosis and access to quality treatment, without exposing their families to financial hardship or poverty.

Today we celebrate the progress achieved by the countries implementing the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer, even as we look towards expanding the programme.

Thank you all for your commitment to giving children with cancer the greatest medicine of all - hope.

I thank you.