INTERNATIONAL CHILDHOOD CANCER DAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2018.
Childhood Cancer International
Advancing Cures, Transforming Care, Instilling Hope
Rowaca Cancer Group – Sierra Leone
Freetown, Sierra Leone, 15 FEBRUARY 2018: International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD) is celebrated around the world each year on February 15th. Originally commemorated in 2002, ICCD is a day founded by Childhood Cancer International (CCI), a global network of 188-member organizations in 96 countries – including Rowaca Cancer Group – Sierra Leone, Childhood Cancer International is committed to advancing cures, transforming care, and instilling hope for all children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer in the world, wherever they may live.
Childhood Cancer International is not alone in recognizing the devastating impact of childhood cancer on children and families around the globe. In September 2011, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly issued a Political Declaration recognizing four major Non-Communicable Diseases/NCDs (cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease) as the greatest killers of adults and children.
Sadly, childhood cancer continues to be the leading cause of non-communicable related death in children throughout the world. Globally, more than 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, and in Sierra Leone more cases are being reported. Approximately 80 percent of our world’s children live in low-middle-income countries (LMICs) where more than 80 percent of these children die of their disease. In developed countries like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan and others, more than 80 percent of children survive cancer with hope to live productive and meaningful lives.
On July 6, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a global indicator framework for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 2030 Global Health Targets. Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 challenges countries to: “By 2030, reduce by one-third of premature mortality from Non-Communicable Diseases through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and well-being.” Childhood Cancer International agrees that making childhood cancer a national and global child health priority is a critical first step towards reducing premature child mortality 30 percent by 2030, providing a crucial milestone for countries to obtain this United Nation’s goal.
Childhood cancers are often curable but too many children and adolescents have no hope to overcome their disease simply because they were born in a country entrenched in poverty resulting in late diagnosis, lack of access to life-saving essential medicines and appropriate treatment.
There can be no more ‘but.’ All children in the world deserve hope for a cure – no matter where they live – not more excuses. We can no longer sweep this issue “under the rug.” Children are the future of our country and our world. Their vitality is the heartbeat of our world, a shared passion that can unite us because our future as a global community depends on it.
On International Childhood Cancer Day, all members of Childhood Cancer International stand united to make childhood cancer a national and global child health priority to ensure there are adequate resources to meet the basic rights of children with cancer. We believe those basic rights for all children diagnosed with cancer include:
- The right to early and proper diagnosis;
- The right to access life-saving essential medicines;
- The right to appropriate and quality medical treatments, and;
- The right to follow up care, services and sustainable livelihood opportunities for survivors.
Furthermore, if a cure is not attainable, CCI stands by the right of the child to experience a pain-free death. While unfathomable in developed countries, the shocking reality for a majority of low-middle income nations is that children suffering from cancer will die excruciating deaths without any supportive care or pain management.
There can be no more ‘but.’ United together towards a shared vision we can advance cures, transform care, and instill hope. Together we must take action to reduce premature child cancer mortality.