Sharjah Declaration 3.0 Unveiled. It Highlights the Importance of Collaboration and Increased Investment in Prevention, Screening, and Treatment Programs in the Arab Region
The recent Cervical Cancer Forum (CCF) concluded with the unveiling of the Sharjah Declaration 3.0, a document outlining a roadmap for the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health concern. During the event, government officials and healthcare experts pledged their commitment to implementing the plan. The plan highlights the importance of collaboration and partnerships between governments, healthcare providers, and civil society organizations.
To achieve the goal of eliminating cervical cancer, the declaration stresses the need for increased investment in prevention, screening, and treatment programs, and advocates for better access to vaccines, screenings, treatment, and palliative care for human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer in the Arab region. The signatories pledged to advocate for the development and implementation of regional and national cervical cancer strategies. Furthermore, they will monitor efforts by establishing a monitoring framework for cervical cancer. This will cover the Eastern Mediterranean and Arab regions (EMRO).
The signatories committed to collaborating with partners to improve evidence-based decision-making. Firstly, they committed to addressing current inequities in HPV vaccine access, cervical cancer detection and treatment. Secondly, they will establish cooperative capacity-building efforts to expand cervical cancer control activities.
The Sharjah Declaration 3.0 is the latest iteration since its first edition in 2019. It is part of the global effort to implement the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health 2016-2030 and the ICPD@25 Nairobi commitments.
This could enable the Eastern Mediterranean and Arab regions to be the first in the world to eliminate cervical cancer.
Suggested steps include:
- Empowering women through self-awareness, education, and confidence to initiate screening
- Investing in cervical cancer elimination
- Working together and coordinating between governments, national and international organizations, and all other stakeholders.
2,820 attendees and 31 speakers attended the Cervical Cancer Forum, which featured eight intense sessions under two themes. The aim of the forum was to reinforce the end of cervical cancer as a public health concern. The Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) organized the two-day virtual forum.
Firstly, The UAE’s Minister of Health and Prevention, Abdul Rahman Al Owais spoke. He said: “The UAE’s commitment to the highest standards in healthcare, scientific research, and innovative policies have positioned us as a regional and international leader in the fight against HPV and cervical cancer.” Additionally, he said that the UAE’s partnership with key stakeholders and the Friends of Cancer Patients has enabled the country to launch the National Cancer Control Plan. By incorporating the HPV vaccine into its national vaccination program, it achieved an 82% coverage rate for two doses. Additionally, the minister expressed a commitment to shaping the future of healthcare. Subsequently, it will improve the health and well-being of the community members.
Subsequently, Sawson Jaafar, Chairperson of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP) Board of Directors, also spoke. He said: “We at FOCP are honoured to host the third Cervical Cancer Forum 2023, in partnership with the UNFPA and the participation of local, regional, and international organizations. Our collective goal is to eliminate cervical cancer, and we believe that through the progress we have made, the development of an action plan, and the commitment to our goals, we can move closer to relieving the world of this debilitating condition.”
A diverse group of participants from across the globe attended the forum. Policymakers, healthcare professionals, researchers, and representatives from organizations like the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) attended this event.