I have been the lead editor of an important new study based on the Index of Cancer Preparedness (ICP). The ICP has been developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit and looks at a wide range of elements that are relevant to cancer control. The project is part of the World Cancer Initiative, a central platform bringing together The Economist Group’s capabilities as a research house, its audience reach as a media house and its convening power in order to advance the global discussion on cancer control.
No health system, no government and no society can afford a lukewarm response to cancer. This group of diseases is already the world’s second biggest killer and costs the global economy upwards of US$1trn per year. The ICP is a useful benchmarking tool to help policymakers and other key stakeholders to identify where their countries stand in cancer control compared with their peers and how they can boost their preparedness.
Highlights from the research
- The ICP draws on a wide range of data relevant to cancer policy and control from 28 countries. The aims of the ICP are to allow benchmarking of national efforts and identify best practice in addressing the cancer challenge.
- Australia tops the ICP, followed by the Netherlands and Germany. Saudi Arabia, Romania and Egypt face the largest room for improvement.
- The ICP explores the issue of cancer preparedness through three broad domains: 1) policy and planning; 2) care delivery; and 3) health systems and governance. The index found the biggest gaps in the health system domain, especially in middle- and low-income countries.
- The study accompanying the ICP identifies the four essentials of cancer preparedness: essential investment (appropriate spending and resources), roadmap (effective planning), foundation (functioning health systems) and intelligence (availability and quality of cancer-related data).
Cancer is the world’s second biggest killer, responsible for 9.6m deaths in 2018—roughly one out of six across the globe—and the leading or second largest cause of mortality before the age of 70 in over half the world’s countries. Amid demographic changes such as population ageing, cancer incidence is set to rise by 63% between 2018 and 2040, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. A new report by The Economist Intelligence Unit looks at the complexities of this growing menace and at whether the world is ready to face it.
Cancer preparedness around the world: National readiness for a global epidemic, sponsored by Novartis, Pfizer and Roche, introduces the Index of Cancer Preparedness (ICP), which draws on a wide range of data relevant to cancer policy and control from 28 countries. The aims of the ICP are to allow benchmarking of national efforts and, even more, to initiate discussion on best practice in addressing the cancer challenge. Australia tops the ICP, followed by the Netherlands and Germany. Saudi Arabia, Romania and Egypt face the largest room for improvement.
The ICP explores the issue of cancer preparedness through three broad domains:
- policy and planning;
- care delivery; and
- health systems and governance.
The index shows that the highest scores on average are found in policy and planning. However, the countries’ performances get weaker when moving from policy to implementation to overall health system readiness and governance. This is particularly the case in middle- and low-income countries.
The report identifies the four essentials of cancer preparedness. First, essential investment refers to appropriate spending and resources dedicated to cancer care. Second essential roadmap refers to effective planning, especially via national cancer control plans. Third, essential foundation refers to the need to embed cancer control in an accessible, general health system. And fourth, essential intelligence refers to the need to measure the nature of the challenge as well as how well interventions are working, for example via population-based cancer registries.
More posts on global health:
- Anniversary: 10 years at The Economist Group
- Cancer preparedness in Latin America: The need to build on recent progress
- Index of Cancer Preparedness reveals huge gaps in health system readiness and governance
- Why the fight against non-communicable diseases starts in adolescence
- Sweden offers both best practice and room for improvement on value-based healthcare