“Building on the existing social instruments established for our country by his Majesty King Mohamed VI, I have approached this challenge, from the beginning, with a perspective associating long-term commitment, pedagogy and pragmatism, since the fight against cancer is a long-term struggle.” HRH Princess Lalla Salma - President of the Lalla Salma Foundation - Cancer prevention and treatment
ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL APPROACH
- A well-established base thanks to the existence of specialised structures in oncology with technical means and human resources that provide medical leadership.
- A public health organisation developed by the Ministry of Health with 3 levels of care.
- A strong political will at a very high level evidenced by the creation of the Lalla Salma Association (ALSC) in 2005 that became the Lalla Salma Foundation in 2013.
- A partnership approach ensured by a multidisciplinary team including members from the Lalla Salma Foundation, national partners (Ministry of Health, National Education, Higher Education, CHU, regional representatives) and international partners (WHO, UICC, UNFPA, FCA, IARC, NCI...).This team, from 2006 to 2010, developed an efficient strategy that led to the drafting of a plan and the implementation of initial actions. The team also ensures the follow-up on decisions and interventions as well as delivery of proper evaluations.
STEPS IN CREATING THE PLAN: 2006 to 2008
An in-depth preliminary analysis of the situation at a national level
An analysis of the national cancer burden and the management of the latter, which constitute indispensable prerequisites for the drafting of a plan, helped focus preparatory work based on 15 studies including: an epidemiological evaluation of the importance of the problem, thanks to a population registry from the Greater Casablanca; surveys on the prevalence of risk factors and regulations reducing exposure; a study on early diagnosis, existing infrastructures, human resources and economic support of patients as well as a survey on knowledge and perceptions of the population on cancer.
A partnership approach that defines the actions to be implemented
These diverse studies served as a basis for development of workshops (in 2008) led by local and international experts, designed for future stakeholders responsible for the development of the plan. The objectives of these workshops were to update knowledge, specify actions to achieve, define priorities and draft intervention proposals adapted to the Moroccan situation concerning prevention, early detection and treatment of cancers.
These studies led to the drafting of a cancer plan in 2010 which included 78 operational measures focusing on 5 strategies and indicated expected results as well as monitoring indicators that led to the achievement phase of the plan for the 2010-2019 period. The plan was officially launched in March 2010.
The first achievements
The preparation of the National Cancer Prevention and Control Plan (NCPCP) was accompanied by the implementation of actions facilitated by an effective engagement from partners and donors which today form part of implemented measures of the National Cancer Prevention and Control Plan. They include the following actions:
- annual awareness campaigns;
- launch of the Program “Colleges, high schools and businesses without tobacco” in 2007;
- Pilot programs for early detection of breast and cervical cancers;
- building and equipment of regional structures specialising in oncology (4 new buildings, 7 extensions, 2 oncology centres, 2 paediatric oncology centres) between 2010 and 2015;
- in 2007-2009 implementation of the programme “Access to medicines for low-income patients" (ACCESS);
- creation (2007-2010) of 6 “Houses of Life” (adults, children) to temporarily host patients undergoing long-term treatment complementing those that exist in Rabat;
- development of health professional training.
“What seemed impossible yesterday is possible today. The ultimate challenge is to win the battle against the disease, the battle for life.” - HRH Princess Lalla Salma