Jawaher calls for access to treatment for child cancer sufferers

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60 international health experts taking part in Sharjah PORTAGE forum

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January-17: Sharjah: Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has reiterated the need to combine global efforts to promote worldwide awareness of paediatric cancer.

She has also highlighted the need to provide access to treatment for children suffering from cancer, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

The founder and royal patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) and International Ambassador for the World Cancer Declaration of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), made the call on the sidelines of the Access to Essential Medicines for Children with Cancer (Sharjah PORTAGE) Forum.

The forum, which began on Tuesday, is being held under the theme ‘Challenges and Pursuit of Innovative Solutions’.

The two-day event will see the participation of 60 senior officials of international health organisations, medical and health experts and heads of private and public sector entities from around the world.

Sawsan Jaafar, chairperson of FoCP’s Board of Directors, opened the forum stressing the importance of Sharjah PORTAGE in encouraging global cooperation to eliminate children’s cancers and secure treatment and medicines.

“Sharjah is pushing even further towards joint initiatives and collaboration with various international agencies as part of a worldwide campaign to promote awareness about the importance of early detection of cancer and combining efforts to save the lives of thousands of children with cancer around in the world, many of whom have died due to lack of resources,” said Shaikha Jawaher.

She called on civil society and public and private institutions to make real and active efforts and stand together in adopting clear policies to provide treatment for children with cancer all around the world.

“Our duty towards children diagnosed with cancer or those at risk of cancer takes more than one approach. While our humanity prompts us to come together to save the lives of millions of children, we must acknowledge that the loss of children due to inaction or negligence by institutions and individuals who could have saved their lives is a loss of human capital,” added Shaikha Jawaher.

Ruth Hoffman, CEO of the American Childhood Cancer Organisation, highlighted the global burden of child cancer and challenges to secure treatment for young cancer sufferers, especially in poor countries.

“Over 300,000 children develop cancer worldwide each year. Eighty per cent (of them) live in developing countries where survival rates can be as low as 20 per cent, compared to 80 per cent in high-income countries. Thousands of children are dying unnecessarily when they could be treated or cured,” she said.

Courtesy: Gulf News

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