ESMO delivered an official statement in support of the WHO ‘COVID-19 Response’ Resolution adopted at the 2020 World Health Assembly, 18-19 May 2020.
ESMO welcomed the WHO strategy and supports WHO’s recommendations to address a wide range of challenges the pandemic poses to people with health issues, especially due to service disruption, lack of sufficient resources, and patient travel restrictions.
The ESMO statement calls on governments to especially protect people at high-risk of COVID-19 such as healthcare professionals and people with pre-existing conditions, including cancer. It requests that health authorities secure the availability of essential cancer and palliative services, and notes that the ESMO-Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale can help support value-based decisions for resource allocation. Where shortages exist, ESMO asks governments to provide institutes and clinicians with ethical and methodological decision-making guidance. For cancer patients who cannot, or are afraid to, travel to a hospital for treatment it is essential that countries have in place an action plan.
The ESMO statement makes WHO and its Member States aware that ESMO is fully supporting its global efforts through our ESMO COVID-19 and Cancer Portal, which includes information, educational materials, ESMO recommendations for cancer management in the era of COVID-19 for oncology professionals, an ESMO Guide for Cancer Patients on cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and links to WHO norms and guidance. In addition, it raises awareness of the ESMO-CoCARE Registry, which is an international collaborative initiative with a cross-tumour database, designed to gather clinical data on the virus’s impact on cancer patients in order to provide recommendations on how to minimise their risks during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the recovery phase.