Call to Action: United Nations Requesting increased funding and attention to cervical cancer


Please take a moment to read the following Call to action from the Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention, Cervical Cancer Action, PATH and the HPV Vaccine Global Community of Practice:

The Cervical Cancer Action coalition, the Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention and the HPV Vaccine Global Community of Practice are teaming up to urge our members to help ensure that the outcomes document from the United Nations High Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), to be held in New York on September 19-20, will appropriately emphasize the burden of cervical cancer, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

A letter from you to your Minister of Health and other national officials could influence the outcomes document significantly!

Background

Because of the growing global burden of non-communicable diseases, including cancer, the United Nations has decided to organize a 1.5 day, “High Level Meeting” to focus on NCDs. We are pleased to note that the meeting aims to produce a concise, action-oriented outcomes document to help guide, stimulate and energize new initiatives.

Since the world now has appropriate technologies to prevent and detect cervical cancer in both low- and high-resource settings, we feel that we have an unprecedented opportunity to reduce the global burden of the disease. We hope that the outcomes document acknowledges the importance of utilizing these tools to reduce rates of cervical cancer, particularly in low-resource settings where mortality is high. Ideally, such recognition will increase funding for sustainable, improved, and expanded prevention services worldwide.

What you can do

Please consider writing to your:

  • Ministry of Health
  • Representatives of United Nations health agencies in your country (World Health Organization, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, World Bank, and UNAIDS)

The outcomes document will be written over the next few months, so if your letters are to have impact, they should be sent soon, by the end of March or early April at the latest.

Here are some ideas for topics:

  • Request support for ensuring that cervical cancer figures prominently in the United Nations High Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases outcomes document.
  • Note that cervical cancer kills about 275,000 women each year, with more than 85% of those deaths in less-developed countries.1 The great tragedy is that cervical cancer is preventable and treatable. Programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America are showing promising results, but much more needs to be done. As a start, awareness about cervical cancer and proven prevention and treatment methods must increase. The United Nations High Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases outcomes document could be a powerful tool for that purpose.
  • Remind them that in 2010 the World Economic Forum highlighted NCDs (including cervical cancer) as one of the three most significant risks to global well-being.2NCDs have become a neglected global epidemic, despite having cost-effective solutions at hand.
  • Request that civil society representatives are invited to actively engage in the United Nations meeting.
  • For your Minister of Health: You could mention that there are a number of earlier meetings leading up to the High Level Meeting in September. These meetings will be important venues for negotiating the contents of the outcomes document. The Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyle and Non-communicable Disease Control will be held on April 28–29 in Moscow. Urge your Minister to consider attending that meeting so that your country’s voice may be heard on these important issues.
  • For your United Nations agency heads: You might suggest that they consider contacting the delegations of member states, as well as United Nations agencies, who are organizing the High Level meeting. They could inform those delegations about our common concerns regarding the heavy burden of women’s cancers and our interest in increasing the use of tools available to reduce associated deaths.

To make your letter more personal and relevant, you may like to:

  • Quote statistics on the burden of cervical cancer in your country. Data for every country and region can be found at the World Health Organization GLOBOCANwebsite and at the World Health Organization/Institut Català d’Oncologia Information Centre on HPV and Cervical Cancer.
  • Describe activities in your country related to screening or treatment of cervical cancer or HPV vaccination.
  • Testify to the importance of improved cervical cancer control in your country.
  • Acknowledge support for this issue among other leaders in your country.
  • Add any other information you feel would make your letters more persuasive.
  • Forward this message to your friends and colleagues—urge them to write, too.
  • Consider sharing your letter with local media to amplify your voice!

Finally, please also share a copy of your letter with us, so that we can track participation. Send electronic copies to: rho@path.org

Thank you for participating in this important initiative!

Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention
Cervical Cancer Action
HPV Vaccine Global Community of Practice

1 Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, Forman D, Mathers C and Parkin DM. GLOBOCAN 2008, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2010. Available from: globocan.iarc.fr
2 World Economic Forum Global Risk Network. Global Risks 2010. Geneva: World Economic Forum; 2010.
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