We hear it time and time again: What gets measured gets done. You can’t just say you’re going to do something then let it fall by the wayside. You need to set goals, right? Be clear about what you want to do and when. It’s a critical component of success and, last week, countries decided on a set of benchmarks they will use to take action on cancer and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). That means, instead of just declaring these diseases are a worldwide problem, government leaders are taking steps to assess their collective progress towards reducing the global burden of cancer and other NCDs.
We applaud the U.S. and other countries for reaching consensus on an achievable, balanced, and comprehensive set of global targets and indicators that ensure access to evidence-based prevention and treatment programs for those at risk for and living with cancer or other NCDs. In particular, LIVESTRONG Foundation is grateful to the U.S. and other governments for supporting our recommendation to improve the global availability of essential NCD medicines and technologies, and for agreeing to a relevant target that highlights affordability, quality, and safety and that is not limited to off-patent drugs or devices. LIVESTRONG Foundation has been working consistently with advocates, service providers, and policymakers to promote the importance of access to cancer care worldwide, and the progress made last week brings us closer to making that a reality. Additionally, governments agreed to myriad cancer-related indicators, including screening, vaccines, and palliative care – all critical to our mission.
Real Work Left to Be Done
While we are thrilled with progress made since the 2011 UN Summit on NCDs, there is still more work to be done. Countries now need to agree to a global action plan outlining how multiple stakeholders can achieve set goals. To that end, we will work further with partners at the NCD Alliance and Union for International Cancer Control to promote a broader framework for global NCDs and development. The foundation also will continue supporting interventions abroad that inform multi-sector strategies. We remain committed to a cancer-free world and the multiple steps we all must take toward achieving that.