Investing 1 dollar per person per year could save 7 million lives in low- and lower-middle-income countries – WHO

A new WHO report shows that close to 7 million deaths could be prevented by 2030 if low- and lower-middle-income countries were to make an additional investment of less than a dollar per person per year in the prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

NCDs – including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and respiratory disease – currently cause 7out of every 10 deaths around the world.

Yet their impact on lower income countries is often underestimated, despite the fact that 85% of premature deaths (between ages 30–69) from NCDs occur in low- and middle-income countries, making them a huge health and socioeconomic burden.

The vast majority of those deaths can be prevented using WHO’s tried and tested NCD Best Buy interventions. These include cost effective measures to reduce tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol, improve diets, increase physical activity, reduce risks from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and prevent cervical cancer.

Keeping people healthy reduces health costs, increases productivity and leads to longer and healthier lives.

Saving lives, spending less: the case for investing in noncommunicable diseases focuses on 76 low- and lower-middle-income countries. The report explains the NCD Best Buys and shows how every dollar invested in scaling up Best Buy actions in these countries could generate a return of up to US$ 7 – potentially US$ 230 billion by 2030.

“With the right strategic investments, countries that bear a significant amount of the NCD burden can change their disease trajectory and deliver significant health and economic gains for their citizens,” says WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “In a world filled with uncertainty, one thing we can be certain of is that without action, NCDs will continue to be a significant threat to global health. Investing in these evidence-based policies is an investment in a healthy future.”

The report emphasizes the urgency of investing in NCD prevention and management given that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how many of these diseases can worsen outcomes for COVID-19.

By investing in the 16 recommended Best Buy policies, countries will not only protect people from NCDs, but also reduce the impact of infectious diseases like COVID-19 in the future.

“Noncommunicable diseases take a terrible health and economic toll, especially on countries that can least afford it,” says WHO Global Ambassador for NCDs and Injuries Michael R. Bloomberg. “We know the prevention measures that work best, and hopefully this new report leads more governments to take the smart, cost-effective actions that can help save millions of lives around the world.”

Best Buy actions include increasing health taxes, restrictions on marketing and sales of harmful products, information and education, and vaccination. They also include actions connected to managing metabolic risk factors, such as hypertension and diabetes, in order to prevent more severe disease or complications.

The interventions are all relatively inexpensive and require little capital investment but could help avoid much of the high cost of treatment in future. The report also indicates that while each of the interventions can be implemented individually, the effects are stronger and produce a greater return on investment when introduced together. With marginalized groups often at greater risk from the physical and financial impact of NCDs, the interventions may also help to reduce health and economic inequalities.

The interventions have already been used successfully in many countries around the world, with some of the success stories highlighted in the report. International donors have also begun to use the arguments to catalyse investment in this area: in 2019 the Norwegian Government launched the first ever international development strategy on NCDs.

“Saving lives, spending less: the case for investing in noncommunicable diseases sets out a path on which countries can follow to deliver the next generation a better and healthier world. The impact of COVID-19 on people living with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and lung diseases shows that it’s more important than ever to prioritize the investment of prevention and management of NCDs,” says Dr Bente Mikkelsen, Director for NCDs at WHO. “We call on all our partners to follow examples like Norway, who have stepped up funding and action. In a world where financial resources are increasingly constrained, this report shows where the best investments can be made and where millions of lives can be saved.”

WHO and St. Jude to dramatically increase global access to childhood cancer medicines

The World Health Organization and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital today announced plans to establish a platform that will dramatically increase access to childhood cancer medicines around the world.

The Global Platform for Access to Childhood Cancer Medicines, the first of its kind, will provide an uninterrupted supply of quality-assured childhood cancer medicines to low- and middle-income countries. St. Jude is making a six-year, US$ 200 million investment to launch the platform, which will provide medicines at no cost to countries participating in the pilot phase. This is the largest financial commitment for a global effort in childhood cancer medicines to date. 

“Close to nine in ten children with cancer live in low- and middle-income countries,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Survival in these countries is less than 30%, compared with 80% in high-income countries. This new platform, which builds on the success of the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer launched with St. Jude in 2018, will help redress this unacceptable imbalance and give hope to many thousands of parents faced with the devastating reality of a child with cancer.” 

Affordable, good quality and uninterrupted cancer medicines for children

Each year, an estimated 400 000 children worldwide develop cancer. The majority of children living in low- and middle-income countries are unable to consistently obtain or afford cancer medicines. As a result, nearly 100 000 children die each year. 

The new platform aims to provide safe and effective cancer medicines to approximately 120 000 children between 2022 and 2027, with the expectation to scale up in future years. This platform will provide end-to-end support  ̶  consolidating global demand to shape the market; assisting countries with the selection of medicines; developing treatment standards; and building information systems to track that effective care is being provided and to drive innovation. 

“St. Jude was founded on the mission to advance research and treatment of childhood cancer and other catastrophic pediatric diseases. Nearly 60 years later, we stand with the World Health Organization, partner organizations and our Global Alliance collaborators to expand that promise for children worldwide,” said James R. Downing, M.D., president and CEO of St. Jude. “With this platform, we are building the infrastructure to ensure that children everywhere have access to safe cancer medicines.”

This innovative approach will open a new chapter in access to cancer care by addressing medicine availability in low- and middle-income countries that is often complicated by higher prices, interruptions in supply and out-of-pocket expenditures that result in financial hardship.

According to a WHO Noncommunicable Disease Country Capacity survey published in 2020, only 29% of low-income countries report that cancer medicines are generally available to their populations compared to 96% of high-income countries. By consolidating the needs of children with cancer globally, the new platform will curtail the purchasing of sub-standard and falsified medicines that results from unauthorized purchases and the limited capacity of national regulatory authorities.

“Unless we address the shortage and poor quality of cancer medicines in many parts of the world, there are very few options to cure these children,” said Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, M.D., executive vice president and chair of the St. Jude Department of Global Pediatric Medicine and director of St. Jude Global. “Health-care providers must have access to a reliable source of cancer medicines that constitute the current standard of care. We at St. Jude, with our co-founding partners at WHO and many vital partners around the world, can help achieve that.” 

“WHO, St Jude and partners will spare no efforts to get children’s access to cancer medicines on track,” added Dr Bente Mikkelsen, Director of the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases at WHO. “WHO is on the ground, working with governments to deliver support and services to ensure that all children have access to the best cancer treatment possible.”

Pilot phase in 12 countries

During an initial two-year pilot phase, medicines will be purchased and distributed to 12 countries through a process involving governments, cancer centers and nongovernmental organizations already active in providing cancer care. Discussions are already ongoing with governments to determine the countries which will participate in this pilot phase. By the end of 2027, it is expected that 50 countries will receive childhood cancer medicines through the platform.  

Kathy Pritchard-Jones, president of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology, said; “We look forward to working with St. Jude and WHO on this journey to ensure all children, everywhere, have access to quality cancer medicines. The platform is bringing forth a dream of our more than 2600 global members.” 

João Bragança, president of Childhood Cancer International, added: “Cancer should not be a death sentence, no matter where a child lives. By developing this platform, St. Jude is helping families get access to lifesaving medicines for their children. Working together, we can change the outcome for cancer-afflicted children around the world.” 

Women are more affected by HIV/AIDS than men in many Sub-Saharan African countries

The World Bank new dashboards in the Health, Nutrition and Population Portal  has provided a window into the healthcare challenges affecting countries through which efforts could be made with more effective approaches to address the health needs of a particular country.

Women are more vulnerable to HIV than men, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 20 Sub-Saharan African countries, more than 60 percent of the HIV affected population are women. In other regions, less than half of the HIV affected population are women (South Asia: 33%, Latin America and Middle East: 38%). According to the UNAIDS, structural, behavioral and biological factors are compounding the risk of HIV infection among women.


Source: Health Dashboard > Topic > HIV/AIDS

Changes are seen in Cause of Death in low-income countries

Cause of Death is mainly classified into three categories:

  1. Communicable diseases and maternal, prenatal and nutrition conditions,
  2. Non-communicable diseases, and
  3. Injury.

In high-income countries, the majority of deaths are caused by non-communicable diseases such as ischaemic heart disease and stroke, while the majority of deaths are caused by communicable diseases in low-income countries. However, we can see changes in the cause of death in low-income countries for the past 16 years. In Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger and Botswana, with the highest proportion of cause of death by communicable diseases, more than 78 percent of the deaths were caused by communicable diseases in 2000. However, the proportion of cause of death by non-communicable diseases has increased in these countries in 2016. In Botswana, the number of deaths caused by communicable disease has rapidly declined, but the deaths by non-communicable diseases has increased between 2000 and 2016.

The risk of impoverishing expenditure for surgical care is very low in North America and Europe, but high in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

The risk of impoverishing expenditure for surgical care is high in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The majority of people in these regions cannot afford to pay for surgical care. People in these regions are at risk of being pulled into poverty when they pay for surgical and anesthesia care, due to direct out-of-pocket payments for the care. In North America and Europe the risk is very low because of their risk-sharing system.

Many people still live in households without basic hand washing facilities

Safe hygiene practices are crucial for human health. Hand washing with soap and water is used to monitor Sustainable Development Goal 6 (Clean water and sanitation), and is considered one of the most cost-effective interventions to prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections, especially among children. In 38 of the 70 countries with data, less than half of the people live in households without basic hand washing facilities in 2015.


Source: Health Dashboard > Topic > Water and Sanitation


Culled from




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.

Rowaca Cancer Group – Sierra Leone, 17 Off Kingharman Road, Brookfields, Freetown.  Email: