Global cancer leaders meet in Kazakhstan

Wednesday 23 October, 2019

Image: McCabe Centre Acting Director, Hayley Jones; UICC President, Princess Dina Mired of Jordan; Director of Cancer Warriors de Mexico, Kenji López Cuevas; and Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Sanchia Aranda at the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

Last week we joined around 350 global leaders in cancer control and public health in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan for the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) World Cancer Leaders’ Summit.

The Summit focused on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and how cancer detection, treatment and care contribute to the achievement of it.

As law plays a crucial role in this, we chaired a session focusing on the effective use of law to advance UHC, convening a panel of experts: Founder and Director of Cancer Warriors de Mexico, Kenji López Cuevas; Executive Director of the African Palliative Care Association, Dr Emmanuel Luyirika; and CEO of Cancer Council Australia, Professor Sanchia Aranda.

The panellists drew on their local, regional and international experiences in using law to achieve better cancer outcomes.

Kenji spoke about his successful campaign to implement a new law in Mexico to give parents of children with cancer paid leave from work while their child is receiving treatment.

Dr Emmanuel spoke about his work at the regional level in East Africa to improve laws relating to palliative care, and to provide legal aid clinics for people in hospital.

And Professor Sanchia, who is also Chair of the City Cancer Challenge, spoke about her work advocating for cancer and non-communicable diseases at the international level, and how this work can be made relevant in Australia where significant inequalities exist in cancer outcomes, especially for Indigenous populations.

The panel attracted an engaged audience, including UICC President, Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, with a range of questions regarding litigation on the right to health and the place of palliative care within UHC discussions.

During the three-day Summit, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, launched the third edition of the Cancer Atlas, of which we contributed a chapter on policy and legislation as essential tools to address the burden of cancer.

The Summit also provided a fantastic opportunity for strengthening relationships, including with our UICC Treatment for All mentee, Carmen Auste of the Cancer Warriors Foundation Philippines; knowledge sharing; and building momentum on UHC following the historic Political Declaration made in New York last month.