On October 30th, UNASUR published a Regional Plan for Integrated Actions which sets out a platform for the exchange of experiences and assistance to prevent and control cervical cancer in South America. The Plan’s main recommendations are for regional purchases of technology for drug development, and transparency in the pricing system of health technology tools. The countries of the region are expected to promote legislative and executive measures to implement these suggestions in the coming months.
The document describes the importance of facilitating the procurement process of technology for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. One of the objectives outlined is that the UNASUR Technical Group on Universal Access to Medicines and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) provide technical assistance to the countries of the region on the joint purchasing of health technology, as well as facilitating the exchange of information among UNASUR member states. The Plan further highlights the need to remove barriers to diagnosis, follow-up and treatment of cancer.
The Network of National Cancer Institutes, who co-authored the document and who form part of UNASUR’s South American Health Council (SSC), is seeking to promote public policies to combat cervical cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 11% of deaths caused by cervical cancer occur in Latin America, of which 70% can be traced to South America.