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Access Today: Spotlight On City Cancer Challenge World Cancer Day

Addressing the barriers to non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention, treatment and care requires collective action. That’s why Access Accelerated is working with partners to co-create scalable, sustainable solutions that address multiple barriers and make measurable progress against the rising incidence of NCDs.

City Cancer Challenge

This month, we’re highlighting exciting new developments from one of our partners, City Cancer Challenge (C/Can). On January 23, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) officially launchedthe initiative as an independent foundation, the “City Cancer Challenge Foundation.”

The decision to launch the initiative as an independent foundation stemmed from the UICC Board’s review of the C/Can governance structure, which determined that transitioning C/Can to a standalone foundation – with strong links to UICC – would enable both organisations to achieve their missions through mutual support and collaboration.

A new, dedicated C/Can Board will be convened and led by Chair Professor Sanchia Aranda, who served as the President of UICC for the last two years, and C/Can will continue under the leadership of Dr. Susan Henshall, who will now become CEO.

“Maintaining a strong relationship with UICC and its partners will allow the City Cancer Challenge Foundation to thrive as it continues to grow and mature. We are working towards the same thing – to improve cancer control –  and this joint effort will make both organisations more successful.”

–  Professor Sanchia Aranda, Board Chair, City Cancer Challenge

C/Can works to inspire cities to deliver quality, equitable cancer care for all. By identifying local leaders and empowering them to identify needs and implement solutions, C/Can provides a foundation for lasting change at the city level and shares best practices so that solutions can be scaled nationally, regionally and globally.

Key Learning Cities

C/Can is already seeing success and is working with a small group of Key Learning Cities, including Cali, Colombia; Asunción, Paraguay; Yangon, Myanmar and Kumasi, Ghana.
These cities were selected through a rigorous set of criteria including the potential to provide insights on how the international community, local civil society and public sector can best work together to implement the shared ambition of the city and C/Can.
A recent notable achievement that demonstrates the impact being made in Key Learning Cities is the Senate of Paraguay’s passage of the proposed Cancer Law, which was promulgated on January 3, 2019. This law frames an integrated approach for quality cancer services next to the establishment of a multisectoral National Cancer Advisory Board including the Ministry of Health, the National Council for Research and Technologies, public and private hospitals, the City Cancer Challenge Executive Committee, and biopharmaceutical companies. This huge step towards quality care in oncology would not have been possible without the My Child Matters and C/Can teams, where this concrete achievement came to fruition through joint, multistakeholder efforts to improve patient outcomes. Read more about thenew cancer policy here.
Learn more about the progress being made in each Key Learning City here.

Challenge Cities

In addition to the Key Learning Cities, C/Can is working to scale-up support to a wide network of Challenge Cities that have a population greater than 1 million, in every region. Challenge Cities benefit from the insights gained from the work undertaken in the Key Learning Cities including challenges faced and drivers of success. These learnings are also shaping the development of a suite of capacity building tools, guidance documents and technical assistance packages.
The first cities that have been selected as Challenge Cities are Kigali, Rwanda; Porto Alegre, Brazil and Tbilisi, Georgia.

Key Learning Cities Challenge Cities
Cali, Colombia Kigali, Rwanda
Asunción, Paraguay Porto Alegre, Brazil
Yangon, Myanmar Tbilisi, Georgia
Kumasi, Ghana  

“Starting locally, we have already seen a transformation in how city leaders are identifying needs and prioritising cancer care, leading to a more robust response nationally, regionally and globally. As an independent foundation, City Cancer Challenge will continue to seek productive partnerships with individuals and organisations committed to improving cancer care in their cities and around the world,”

  Dr. Susan Henshall, CEO, City Cancer Challenge


Each year on 4 February, World Cancer Day empowers people across the world to show support, raise a collective voice, take personal action and press governments to do more. This year, World Cancer Day also marked two new milestones for C/Can:

  • Tbilisi, Georgia officially joins the City Cancer Challenge: The city of Tbilisi officially joined the City Cancer Challenge on World Cancer Day. High-level representatives of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia; City Hall of Tbilisi, Georgia; Patients’ Union and the City Cancer Challenge Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a two-year collaboration aimed at improving access to cancer care for the citizens of Tbilisi. Over a two-year period, C/Can will support the city to undertake a comprehensive city-wide assessment that will inform a City Activity Plan; identify appropriate channels for technical assistance, capacity building, partnerships, investments and longer-term financing solutions; and develop a framework to monitor and evaluate progress and measure impact.
  • UICC President HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan visits Ghana: HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan made her first official visit to Africa as President of UICC in an effort to further strengthen the commitment of national authorities to increase their support and funding of national cancer control priorities, and their engagement in increasing equitable access to quality cancer services. Princess Dina arrived in Kumasi, one of the four C/Can Key Learning Cities, and was invited to meet with His Majesty Otumfour Osei Tutu II to learn firsthand about the Kumasi City Cancer Challenge priorities and Activity Plan. Read more here.


On February 6, a conference organised by the Association of Representatives of Ethical Pharmaceutical Industry, Access Accelerated and City Cancer Challenge will be held to discuss the importance of public and private sector collaboration to improve cancer care in Ghana and how C/Can in Kumasi may serve as a model for other cities in the country and the African region. UICC President HRH Princess Dina Mired will conclude her visit that began on World Cancer Day by participating in the conference and H.E. Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, First Lady of Ghana, will also provide remarks.


Access Accelerated member companies operate 55 programs to address cancer prevention, treatment and care around the world. Learn more about these programs on the Access Accelerated Open Platform.


Please contact us at with any questions and follow the conversation around industry actions to tackle NCDs on Twitter at @NCDAccess and on our


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