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May 2015 - Latest news from the 68th World Health Assembly

9 June 2015

Dear UICC Members and Partners,

The 68th World Health Assembly (WHA) closed on Tuesday 26 May, with WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan noting that it had passed several “landmark resolutions and decisions” – many of which are highly relevant for the cancer and wider non-communicable disease (NCD) community.

UICC’s members, Board of Directors and staff had a strong presence throughout the nine-day Assembly meetings, participating in the official Member State discussions and related side events. Please find below some of the highlights:

  • Member States unanimously adopted a resolution on "Strengthening emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia as a component of universal health coverage". Recognising the critical importance of surgical services for tacking cancer and other NCDs, and the huge gaps in global access to essential surgery, the Resolution underlines the importance of building political commitment to expand access, and of strengthening the surgical workforce through training and knowledge-exchange. The Resolution also emphasizes the need for development of a robust framework for monitoring and evaluation of surgical capacity, and regular reporting of access to and safety of surgery.

  • UICC contributed to Member State discussions on the surgery Resolution with a statement drawing attention to the upcoming Commission on Global Cancer Surgery. We urge all our members to review the Commission details and make submissions on the subject of cancer surgery and the role of civil society in driving this agenda forwards. For more information on how you can get involved please click here.

  • Member States highlighted their commitment to keeping NCDs high on the agenda and the urgent need for greater progress ahead of the 3rd UN Review and Assessment on NCDs in 2018, in order to achieve the 25 by 25 targets. Delegates also welcomed the Global Coordination Mechanism on NCDs work plan 2016-2017.

  • The Assembly adopted a resolution requesting the WHO Director-General to convene an intergovernmental working group no later than October 2015 to conclude work on the WHO framework of engagement with non-state actors (which includes NGOs such as UICC, as well as private sector, academia, and philanthropic foundations) to ensure the framework’s adoption at the 69th WHA.

    In parallel to these official discussions, UICC was involved in a number of side events, with the aim of highlighting key cancer messages, initiatives and resources. In collaboration with the Ministries of Health of Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal and Turkey, UICC organised a side event - ‘Responding to the Global Target of 80% Availability of Essential NCD Medicines and Technologies by 2025: a Cancer Perspective’. The event brought together over 100 participants from Ministries of Health, civil society and UN to discuss challenges, opportunities and best practices in increasing access to multimodal cancer treatment including surgery, radiotherapy and systemic therapy. Particular attention was given to the recent cancer additions to the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines – also referenced throughout the week in several access related discussions and side events. Read more about the side event and the panellists here.

    The NCD Alliance was also involved in a several side events throughout the week; please click here to read more about the Alliance’s activities during WHA.

    It is also worth noting that WHO organised a special Technical Briefing on ‘Cancer prevention and control: which policies and programmes have best driven progress?’ with panellists including Dr Chris Wild, Director of IARC, four Ministries of Health, and Dr Beatrice Wiafe of Breast Care International, Ghana, a UICC member.

    Should you have any questions or require further information on any of the above items, please do not hesitate to contact our advocacy team on

    Kinds regards,

    Dr Cary Adams
    Chief Executive Officer
    Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)

    You can view this e-newsletter online here...

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