President Biden Rejoins WHO in Support of Pandemic Efforts and Cancer Prevention
One of President Joe Biden’s first executive orders (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-trump-orders-masks/2021/01/20/7b6a1bec-5a98-11eb-b8bd-ee36b1cd18bf_story.html) was rejoining the World Health Organization (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/01/20/letter-his-excellency-antonio-guterres/) (WHO). He also signed executive orders (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-trump-orders-masks/2021/01/20/7b6a1bec-5a98-11eb-b8bd-ee36b1cd18bf_story.html) to require masks on all federal grounds and asked agencies to extend moratoriums on evictions and federal student loan payments, but the WHO executive order has particular implications for cancer care.
“As a WHO member state, the United States will work constructively with partners to strengthen and, importantly, reform WHO to help lead the collective effort to strengthen the international COVID-19 response and address its secondary impacts on people, communities, and health systems around the world,” Anthony Fauci, MD, the U.S. representative to the organization on COVID-19, said (https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/01/21/dr-anthony-s-fauci-remarks-world-health-organization-executive-board-meeting.html?utm_source=news-releases-email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=january-24-2021).
Not only does rejoining WHO put the United States at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, but it also aligns the nation with WHO’s cancer prevention efforts, including:
- Cancer Today (https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data-sources-methods), an assessment of global cancer burden
- National cancer programs (https://www.who.int/cancer/nccp/en/) to reduce cancer mortality and improve patient quality of life
- The Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (https://gicr.iarc.fr/about-the-gicr/vision/), which helps countries establish their capacity to collect, synthesize, and disseminate cancer data
WHO estimates (https://www.who.int/nmh/a5816/en/) 24.6 million people are living with cancer globally, and by 2020 the world had 16 million new cancer cases and 10 million cancer deaths annually.
“We need to reimagine leadership, build on mutual trust and mutual accountability to end the pandemic, and address the fundamental inequalities that lie at the root of so many of the world’s problems,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, MD, WHO director-general, said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-who/who-chief-looks-forward-to-working-very-closely-with-biden-team-idUSKBN27P14F).
As WHO extends (https://www.um.edu.mt/newspoint/news/2020/12/year-nurse-midwife) its Year of the Nurse campaign and prioritizes (https://www.who.int/nmh/a5816/en/) cancer prevention, by rejoining the organization, the United States recommitted its support to the global efforts of public health.