Caribbean Subregional Meeting on Childhood Cancer: CureAll Americas
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As part of the WHO Global Initiative on Childhood Cancer (GICC), and in follow-up to the initial Caribbean meeting in 2020, PAHO, in collaboration with SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI) and St. Jude Global, organized the Caribbean Subregional Meeting on Childhood Cancer: CureAll Americas, held on 1 October 2021 via Zoom, to continue discussing how to improve pediatric cancer care in the Caribbean subregion. Some 47 (out of 59 total) participants, representing nine countries, took part in the meeting. The objectives of the meeting were to present the current status of the GICC and a situational landscape of childhood cancer in the Caribbean; to review the outcomes, progress, and follow-up on commitments and plans discussed at the Caribbean childhood cancer meeting held in February 2020; and to identify critical priorities and joint activities for the 2022–2023 biennium for subregional and national activities in pediatric cancer care, including national childhood cancer plans, treatment protocols, access to medicines, workforce development, and registries. The meeting included presentations from experts on the situational analysis of pediatric cancer in the Caribbean, review of the commitments Caribbean countries made in the workshop of February 2020, advances in the SCI and St. Jude Global collaboration activities in the Caribbean countries, and the implementation strategy of the GICC. As preparatory work, several subregional key activities established during the 2020 meeting were reevaluated and prioritized. As part of the prioritization exercise, 22 participants voted during the preparatory phase and the meeting. The key activity identified for prioritization was the development of a subregional communication campaign on common childhood cancers. In a breakout group exercise, small virtual groups discussed countries’ priorities and opportunities for improvements around four topics: health services and registry, oncological medicines, human resources, and governance. The participants were actively engaged in providing insight into the national and regional priorities and activities related to implementing the GICC at the national and subregional level through their contributing to the large and small group exercises. Over the next biennium, PAHO/WHO, SCI, St. Jude, and collaborators will work diligently to ensure that the GICC continues to serve as a robust framework for prioritizing childhood cancer care. The work must be sustained with political will and national and regional leadership to increase awareness, multisectoral use, and accessibility of the GICC among key partners, ultimately strengthening regional and national implementation of the GICC.
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