Advances in the development of innovative medicines are generating a change in the way cancer is treated in Latin America, despite the fact that it continues to be one of the diseases that cause the greatest mortality in the region, according to several specialists on Wednesday.
The road is still long, said Efe Silvina Frech, regional director of Latin America of the City Cancer Challenge (C / Can), a global initiative that aims to reduce mortality from this disease and that was launched in three cities of the region: Cali (Colombia), Asunción (Paraguay) and Porto Alegre (Brazil).
"We have made great progress thanks to the treatments that were not available years ago, but we still have to work on the barriers that exist to give an equitable treatment to all patients and work on awareness," Frech said after participating in the Roche Press Day 2019.
C / Can is an initiative that has become this year the City Cancer Challenge Foundation, which helps cities that are part of making a diagnosis of the current cancer situation.
"It helps to select the priority objectives, the strategic areas in which they will work to find solutions to those gaps identified, and prioritize, because you can not do everything at the same time," Frech said.
Rolf Hoenger, responsible for Latin America at Roche, highlighted the importance of the work of private initiative in this effort and said that what is sought is to guarantee oncological patients sustainable care and access to the care they need.
Nelson Sinisterra, health minister of Cali, Colombia, where C / Can was implemented in 2016, indicated that one of the main achievements of this initiative is that cancer treatment has been put on the agenda.
This, according to the official, has allowed to generate a space to work in a multisectoral manner where the participation of the health system, the private initiative and the patients has been made aware of the subject.
"Having a tool and an actor with such influence facilitates alliances and leads us to have more clear and precisely identified methodologies," he said.
For her part, Angélica Samudio, head of the Pediatric Hemato-Oncology service at the Hospital de Clínicas of the National University of Asunción, said that in that Paraguayan city, C / Can, which began operating in 2017, has had a great impact.
"It was possible to achieve the approval of the cancer law in January of this year and its regulations with which financial resources have been obtained to be able to implement it," he said.
This has impacted the oncology services and the training of the professionals, as well as providing greater security to both the service providers and the patients to ensure that they continue to work on diagnosis, treatment and care.
This is especially important since in Asunción only 20% of the population has social security.
Silvina Frech highlighted the importance of the initiative that is expected to expand in the next few years to other cities given that it is estimated that the urban population reaches 70% by 2050.
"That will represent challenges, but the ambition is to continue growing, to continue adding cities and hopefully our region continues to be a pioneer," he concluded.
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