February 3, 2018
Order of Physicians
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator
UNDP Resident Representative
Excellency Minister of Health Mr. Ghassan Hasbani
President of AUB Dr. Fadlo Khury,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honor for me to be here with you today to address the order of esteemed physicians, and to release the 3rd edition of the “National Cancer Treatment Guidelines 2018”.
UNDP has been actively engaged in this initiative and worked on the previous 2 editions of 2010 and 2013.
I am even more pleased that this initiative was implemented in the framework of the Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN), which aims at bringing Lebanese talents home, by enabling Lebanese experts living abroad, to contribute their expertise and skills toward the development of Lebanon and support public institutions in a variety of disciplines
Lebanon is lucky to be rich with expatriates’ international professionalism and expertise...
I recognize the impacts Cancer has on patients and the bearing it leaves on most families affected by this debilitating disease. These Guidelines provide specific treatments for every type and stage of cancer based on the latest evidence-based scientific research enabling all patients specifically those covered by the ministry of health to have access to international standard of care. Having said that, it is important to mention that the cost of treatment and diagnosis of cancer is very high, which may lead patients to suffer from economic and social consequences.
With the increase in poverty, the reliance on the ministry of health to cover the health bill is increasing tremendously while not being reflected in the budget allocated to the ministry. By the same token hospitals are allocating only a few beds for ministry patients due to the discounted payments and the delay in payments. In addition the cost of provision of international standards of care in cancer is increasing. Accordingly, we believe that the provision of standardized cost-effective treatments is crucial not only for patients but also beneficial to hospitals and the ministry of public health sustainable planning.
We commend the ministry of health for covering treatment for more than 50% of the population and therefore contributing more than 70 million dollars per year to treat patients.
In this regard, we highly encourage all stakeholders involved in particular the ministry of public health, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and insurances companies to address the financial burden of treatments through the development of a coordinated strategy and guidelines that will address the issues of all parties involved thereby ensuring proper cost effective care for cancer patients.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have been fortunate enough to having had dedicated partners, and we have been lucky to work closely with prominent doctors from distinguished University Medical Centers to develop this protocol that serves the interests of both the patients and the Ministry of Health.
This year’s edition witnessed the same partnerships and efforts with equally outstanding International and National Committees. However, this year is distinguished as the National Committee is headed by the president of the American University of Beirut, Dr. Fadlo Khuri, who throughout the years demonstrated utmost expertise and commitment to TOKTEN and to serving Lebanon.
The committee that was created to work on the new edition of the National Cancer Treatment Guidelines, includes distinguished oncologists of the National and International committees,
It is important to emphasize on the leading roles of all the members of the national committee. Namely Dr. Fadia Elias, Dr. Ghazi Nsouli, Dr. Nizar Bitar, Dr. Marwan Ghosn, Dr. Ali Shamessedine and Dr. Joseph Kattan. Over the past year they met regularly to develop a comprehensive guidelines based on the latest scientific findings. Their elaboration of evidence-based protocols, their hard work and complete dedication led to an outstanding contribution.
We are also grateful for the reviewers from international cancer centers such as MD. Anderson, Sloan Kettering, Harvard, Emory, temple and others, and hence I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the international reviewers from these international cancer centers, namely Dr. Jean Pierre Issa, Dr. Ahmad Awada, Dr. Taofeek Owonikoko, Dr. Bassel El Rayes, Dr. Robert Haddad, Dr. Sagar Lonial, Dr. Raymond Sawaya, Dr. Toni Choueiri and Dr. Anas Younes. Their contribution was and will continue to be an asset.
Allow me to also highlight Dr. Fadlo khury’s chief and outstanding capacity in leading this initiative, and making it happen.
I hope that this is the beginning of an ongoing collaboration that will continue to build positive change, develop human resources, and increase capacity development.
Finally, allow me to thank Eli and Monzer Hourani, and the Global Compact. In addition, allow to acknowledge the considerable Ministry’s engagement in the realization of the National Cancer guidelines, their cooperation and their adoption of this project confirms the ongoing success commitment of the ministry to provide the best care for its patients.