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ESMO Calls for Continued Access to Affordable Cancer and Palliative Care Medicines and Services at the 150th WHO Executive Board Meeting

26 Jan 2022

At the 150th WHO Executive Board (1), taking place 24-29 January 2022, discussing the topics and resolutions to be considered on the agenda of the World Health Assembly, ESMO delivered a statement on the Political declaration of the third high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. The ESMO statement welcomed the WHO strategies on the prevention and control of NCDs - which include cancer, focusing, among others, on addressing the reduction of the harmful use of tobacco and alcohol, as well as the issue of preventing and managing obesity, and promoting oral and mental health. Of particular importance, WHO noted that there has been progress in the implementation of the global strategy to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem and in the achievement of its associated goals and targets for the period 2020–2030.

The ESMO statement called for WHO Member States to ensure continued patient access to essential cancer and palliative care medicines and services that are affordable and do not compete with resources for health emergencies.

Furthermore, ESMO called for countries to provide annual data on the health impact of their interventions to reduce the burden of cancer, to ensure progress towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 (2) is properly measured. During the pandemic cancer services have been delayed and disrupted and for that reason it is important that countries accelerate actions and provide evidence that they are on track to achieve the 2030 goal.

ESMO appreciates the coordination role of the WHO Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs to mobilize and share knowledge to support countries in their efforts to reducing the cancer burden in the coming years.

ESMO continues to stand ready to contribute to global health efforts with recognised expertise in cancer management as we work tirelessly throughout the pandemic to save lives.

Dr. Tedros’s introductory remarks at the meeting can be read here, where he notes that “WHO estimates that at least half of the global disease burden could be prevented by supporting safer and healthier environments that allow people to make healthy choices and adopt healthy behaviours.”


  1. The WHO Executive Board is composed of 34 members from all 6 WHO regions who are elected for three-year terms. The annual Board meeting is held in January when the WHO Member States agree upon the topics and resolutions to be considered on the agenda of the World Health Assembly, which is composed of 194 countries and takes place each year in Geneva in May.
  2. By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being

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