Regional collaboration for the development of national childhood cancer plans in Latin America and the Caribbean

Loggetto et al.

This article aims to describe the activities conducted by the National Childhood Cancer Plan Working Group to support the development of national childhood cancer plans in Latin America and the Caribbean in the period 2019–2022, and to present the stage of plan development. The Working Group activities were supported by the Pan American Health Organization and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Childhood Cancer. Year after year, the workshops and activities developed with the Working Group mobilized key stakeholders: pediatric oncologists, representatives of the Ministry of Health, foundations supporting childhood cancer initiatives, and hospital administrators. As of  February 2023, one regional framework is in place, approved by the Council of Ministries of Health of Central America and the Dominican Republic, nine countries are currently implementing national plans or laws that include childhood cancer, and ten countries are writing new plans. The WHO three-step framework helped to guide the Working Group activities. All plans were supported by a situational analysis, which highlighted the importance of having systematized data for evidence-based policies. To increase implementation success, an accompanying budget and timeline help to ensure the adequate implementation of the interventions. More than anything, committed stakeholders remain the most fundamental element to successfully write and approve a national childhood cancer plan. This is an opportunity to share these countries’ experience so the strategy can be adapted to support other countries developing a childhood cancer plan and extended to other public health areas.

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Brief communication