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Global Community Must Prioritize NCDs, Including Childhood Cancer

New York Times: A Promising Step in Tackling Childhood Cancer
Editorial Board

“…While high-income countries like the United States have made tremendous strides against [acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)] and a string of similar childhood cancers, those gains have not trickled down to low- and middle-income countries, many of which simply don’t have the resources to treat complex diseases. … The result of those deficits is not surprising, but it is striking. In rich countries, 80 percent of children with diseases like ALL survive. In many poor countries, 80 percent die. That inversion marks one of the greatest health disparities in the world … This week, St. Jude announced a five-year, $15 million partnership with the World Health Organization, aimed at expanding [global access to pediatric cancer treatments]. … Together, they are well equipped to finally close this inexcusable survival gap. But their success will hinge on several other entities. Individual governments need to prioritize noncommunicable diseases like cancer, and work harder to provide universal health coverage; the drug and device industries need to come to the table on pricing — the technology of cancer care is expensive, but it can be made affordable. And wealthier countries need to contribute resources of their own to the effort. Such investments can only strengthen the global economy in the long run … If world leaders can recognize that benefit, hundreds of thousands of children around the world may finally have [a chance]…” (9/29).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.