Essential medicines give lifeline to people living with cancer

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Essential medicines give lifeline to people living with cancer

On World Cancer Day 2016, WHO urges countries to provide access to cancer treatment.

Abish Romero is preparing to celebrate: in a few months she will mark 5 years free of breast cancer, after receiving successful treatment in her home country of Mexico.

But the 28-year-old, whose mother died from late diagnosed breast cancer several years ago, had to make some tough choices before her care started in 2011.

Abish was working outside of Mexico as an au pair, when she was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer, and had to return home to receive the treatment needed.

“I had no option but to return to Mexico, where free public health insurance (called Seguro Popular) ensures all women diagnosed with breast cancer can be treated with no out-of-pocket expense,” says Abish, who underwent extensive surgery and chemotherapy.

While many nations cannot afford expensive cancer medicines, Mexico is an example of a middle-income country that has taken major structural steps to give sustainable access to treatment for people diagnosed with breast and other forms of cancer. It has done this by reforming and consolidating their procurement policies to achieve price reductions for essential medicines.

The example of Mexico is one that WHO is striving to see emulated globally through implementation of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines as part of a broader approach to strengthening national health systems.

The list of essential medicines serves as a model for countries to follow in enabling the treatment of the most curable high-burden diseases, including adult and childhood cancers.

WHO Model List of Essential Medicines

In May 2015, 16 new medicines for treating cancers were added to the latest edition of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, a powerful signal by WHO and cancer control advocates to governments to step up cancer care and guide national efforts to strengthen their health systems.

Read Full Article: WHO | Essential medicines give lifeline to people living with cancer


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