The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic created huge challenges for cancer patients, services, and systems across the world.
The Covid-19 and Cancer Global Taskforce, an internationally representative group of cancer leaders from 47 countries, was created in Feb 2020 with support from the UK’s Global Challenge Research Fund R4HC programme, to address the all aspects of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer and palliative care from clinical mitigation strategies through to major studies of risk of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to cancer patients including strengthening COVID-19 care in low resource settings.
The global partnership was formally merged into the International Partnership for Resilience in Cancer Systems (I-PARCS) programme in Feb 2023. This transformative partnership will take forward, in collaboration with WHO and other global partners, the learnings and future research agenda framed by the Taskforce.
Over the three years the Taskforce published some 40% of all research into COVID-19 and cancer. Its global members delivered and continue to deliver a huge range of training and education programs to help cancer services adapt. This included studies of critical medical stockpile management in Pakistan, through to understanding the impact and mitigation of the pandemic on childhood cancer care in Turkey and ‘silver lining’ lessons learnt from practice changes. The work was critical to informing policy, particularly on risk, impact of delaying diagnosis and treatment due to lockdowns and the unequal distribution of global COVID-19 vaccination. The Taskforce presented many of its key findings and impact at the UICC World Cancer Congress in Geneva in late 2022. In addition, with our partners at ecancer we also developed a COVID-19 and Cancer intelligence hub to help the wider community.
As a collective dedicated to cancer care and control during pandemic waves the taskforce community will now form part of I-PARCS to support planning, future mitigation and resilience strategies against global pandemics and other future systemic shocks.
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