South-East Asia countries to prioritize cancer prevention, control
New Delhi/Dili, 12 September 2015: Concerned at the 1.1 million deaths and 1.7 million new cancer cases every year in the WHO South-East Asia Region, Health Ministers of the 11 member countries resolved to strengthen cancer prevention and control programmes.
“We need to ensure comprehensive cancer services to the community including promotion, prevention of modifiable risk factors, early detection and treatment, and the availability of affordable diagnostics, medical products and palliative care,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia Region, said at the WHO Regional Committee meeting during the adoption of a resolution on cancer prevention and control.
Many cancers are preventable, can be detected early and treated to improve survival rates and the quality of life of the affected persons.
The resolution called for implementing multisectoral actions for primary prevention of cancer risk factors, in particular tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, infections causing cancers, behavioral risk factors, exposure to environmental risk factors; increasing public awareness to reduce modifiable risk factors and strengthening community based interventions.
The five-day WHO Regional Committee meeting, which ended on 11 September, adopted five more resolutions on priority areas - tobacco control, strengthening preparedness to respond to emergencies and outbreaks, anti-microbial resistance, strengthening community based health services and improving patient safety for sustainable Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The resolution on emergency preparedness called for implementation of health goals and targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (20152030) and the International Health Regulation (2005) through multisectoral, multi-stakeholders and all-of society engagement and partnership
The member countries resolved to include antimicrobial resistance as one of the top priorities of their national health agendas, and develop and implement multisectoral national action plans to address the problem.
The resolution on patient safety endorsed the Regional Strategy on Patient Safety which calls for engaging all stakeholders in building safer health care facilities, creating and sustaining a culture of safety at all level of health care; enhancing awareness and engaging patients and communities in the process of improved patient safety, in strengthening health systems and supporting UHC.
The countries resolved to strengthen health workers’ capacities through continued training, adequate supervision and support and retention in places they are most needed, diversifying their capacities to respond to the changing health needs of the communities, addressing social determinants of health, in particular awareness and detection of NCD, care for elderly and persons with disability in the communities, rehabilitation and palliative care, disease surveillance and capacities to respond to emergencies and disasters.
The Dili Declaration adopted by all countries on day one of the Regional Committee meeting, was endorsed in another resolution. The declaration highlights the urgency for stronger measures to stop the tobacco epidemic in the WHO South-East Asia Region.
The 68th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South East Asia formally inaugurated by the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste