When we gathered with our global health friends and colleagues at the United Nations (UN) in September 2018, it was with an ambitious goal to find cures for all of the world’s children who develop cancer each year. Here we are, more than four years later, taking significant strides toward our collective goal to reach at least a 60% survival rate for children with cancer by 2030, while reducing suffering for all.
Every day, an estimated 1,000 children develop cancer worldwide. Working together with our friends at the World Health Organization (WHO), we launched the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer at the UN in 2018. The Global Initiative provides leadership and technical assistance to governments in the process of building and sustaining high-quality childhood cancer programs. The Global Initiative is now implemented in more than 30 countries, applying what has become known as the CureAll approach. The CureAll framework outlines the key components needed to establish, scale up and sustain a well-functioning national childhood cancer program.
In December 2022, our St. Jude Global Health Systems Unit and WHO Cancer team convened a CureAll Country Showcase virtually with representatives of 38 countries along with WHO Headquarters, Regional Offices and St. Jude Global teams. There, we exchanged insights on the efforts underway to reach our goals and reduce suffering of all children around the globe. More than 140 participants joined us in this event, offered in five UN languages, with all sharing the unifying language and mission of CureAll.
This unique partnership between St. Jude and WHO has allowed us to apply the CureAll lens to capture projects, deliverables and opportunities, within and beyond the 65+ countries engaging in the Global Initiative. During the CureAll Country Showcase event, we heard from many of our friends. It was notable to see how over time, colleagues from Ministries and WHO Country Offices joined childhood cancer champions to seamlessly summarize the work accomplished for children and families. This is especially impressive, as no previous national program had established staff or similarly cross-cutting partnerships for childhood cancer at the start of the Global Initiative. Some highlights included:
Voting is underway within the CureAll community to recognize the posters with the most innovative content or approach and visual design, and we expect to share winning poster submissions with the St. Jude Global Alliance Online Community and WHO Knowledge Action Portal soon, in celebration of International Childhood Cancer Day this February. Thank you to all our colleagues in each country for providing the leadership and inspiration the world needs right now. When we started this journey in 2018, little did we know we would find ourselves at this point today.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was founded in 1962 in Memphis, Tenn., with the promise that no child should die in the dawn of life. When our founder, Danny Thomas, said those words, he didn’t mean only those children in the United States. He meant all children, everywhere in the world. We launched St. Jude Global in 2018 with the mission to improve the survival rates of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases worldwide through the sharing of knowledge, technology and organizational skills. Earlier that year, St. Jude became the first and only WHO Collaborating Centre for Childhood Cancer. We believe that this partnership with WHO aligns the necessary resources and expertise required to support improved outcomes for children with cancer and catastrophic blood disorders around the world.
Here at St. Jude, we know our partnership with WHO and other global partners through the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer’s CureAll approach will meet this ambitious goal to achieve at least a 60% survival rate for children with six of the most common kinds of cancer by 2030, therefore saving an additional 1 million lives. As we move toward that target year of 2030, we realize it’s a moment that will be here all too soon. Yet with our partners at WHO, we know this goal is achievable.