May 13, 2022
Friends and Colleagues,
We continue to monitor and stay abreast of the situation in Ukraine and felt this was an opportune time to highlight some of the efforts of those working to address the healthcare crisis in the area.
The IGCS leadership is participating a Special Network on the Impact of the War in Ukraine on Cancer established by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the European Cancer Organization (ECO). The Special Network recently held a meeting to discuss tangible actions that can be taken in collaboration with the WHO, EU and other organizations. The network includes over 300 organization representatives including medical societies, patient organizations, cancer centers, charities, foundations and the healthcare industry across the world.
The Special Network sent this statement to the WHO Europe Regional Committee to “highlight a range of needs that can be more fully met through inter-governmental attention and response” and to make them aware that the network is “ready and available to the WHO, governments, and others as a resource to connect stakeholders and the international and Ukrainian healthcare NGOs who are working tirelessly to address the emergency in Ukraine.”
IGCS will be participating in another Special Network meeting in June during the ASCO meeting in Chicago.
UICC Solidarity Fund
The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) has established an emergency fund to bridge funding into the region to support the needs of cancer organizations struggling to serve patients affected by the conflict. The fund has received pledges of just over $1 million USD in donations and has opened a call for grants to qualifying organizations to allow those who qualify the opportunity to use the funds and assist in the region. IGCS has donated to the fund, and we encourage others to consider joining us. Those who wish to donate to the emergency Solidarity Fund or apply for a grant to receive these funds can do so by contacting UICC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polish Gynecologic Cancer Society Efforts
We previously reported that IGCS has been in communication with our colleagues in Poland as they bear the heaviest burden of assisting patients and physicians in the region. This article, “War in Ukraine: the opportunities for oncogynecologic patients in Poland” recently published in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer highlights the efforts of the Polish Society of Gynecologic Oncology in the coordination of treatment for Ukrainian patients with gynecological cancers.
“The cooperative initiative is run by both Polish and Ukrainian oncogynecologists and is based on the network of interpersonal contacts. The project aims to coordinate the arrival of patients in Poland, their accommodation, and allocating them to institutions where they receive appropriate treatment and support. Thanks to close cooperation between doctors from both sides of the border, the patients are not left without oncological care.”
IGCS commends all who are working to address the issues and multifaceted challenges that have arisen for healthcare delivery in Ukraine and neighboring countries. We wholeheartedly support the statement from the Special Network on the Impact of the War in Ukraine to the WHO calling for solidarity among European countries to pool health service capacity and resources to prioritize those who have the greatest support needs and to make early preparations for the rebuilding of Ukrainian health services in the future.
Robert Coleman, MD
Mary Eiken, MS
March 9, 2022
Friends and Colleagues,
Last week IGCS released a statement regarding the unfolding situation in Ukraine. IGCS is fully committed to reducing human suffering from injury, trauma, and disease – anywhere in the world and especially now in Ukraine. Our leadership is currently examining ways that we can best respond to situations of conflict such as this to help offset the subsequent disruption to gynecologic cancer care services.
As UICC has reported, “the majority of people with cancer in conflict-affected areas are unable to get appropriate care, as regions become inaccessible, hospitals and health centres are damaged or destroyed and health workers are injured, killed or displaced. Health systems in neighbouring countries risk being overwhelmed by refugees fleeing these regions, at a time when they are already struggling with a backlog of cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
These are a few of the recent developments and ongoing activities IGCS has and will participate in regarding the humanitarian efforts and support of Ukraine.
Support for our members and patients in the area
We are in direct communication with our colleagues in Poland and other surrounding regions where Ukraine citizens are fleeing to learn what assistance is needed regarding gynecologic cancer services for the displaced and how we can best contribute to their needs. As we learn more about these needs and how we might provide support, we will share specific information with our members about our response.
Collaborate with other organizations
The IGCS leadership has been invited to participate in a special meeting hosted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the European Cancer Organization (ECO) regarding the impact of the war in Ukraine on cancer. This meeting will focus on tangible actions that can be taken in collaboration with the WHO, EU and other organizations.
Donation to the UICC emergency solidarity fund
IGCS is a member of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and they have established an emergency fund to bridge funding into the region to support the needs of cancer organizations struggling to serve patients affected by the conflict. IGCS has pledged $5,000 to the fund. If you wish to donate to the emergency Solidarity Fund, you can do so by contacting UICC at email@example.com.
We are encouraged by the outpouring of support from IGCS members and friends who are offering their aid in any way they can, to assist those in the medical community in Ukraine and the areas where many are fleeing.
Please see this summary list of humanitarian organizations that are already working in the region to make an impact and are actively seeking monetary and/or medical supply donations to help in the region. As more support opportunities become available, we will most certainly communicate these and if you would like to make us aware of any humanitarian organizations that could be added to the list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
IGCS is grateful to be so well-positioned in the global gynecologic oncology community to foster collaboration in this time of need among our members, friends, and colleagues. We continue to keep the people of Ukraine in our thoughts and prayers and are monitoring the situation closely. We appreciate our organizational associates and partners for reaching out to us to include us and by extension taking into consideration the needs of our patients in these efforts.
Robert Coleman, MD
Mary Eiken, MS