On 23 November 2023, WHO and the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) delivered a fifth batch of oncology medicines and supplies to Benghazi Children’s Hospital to treat child cancer patients. This latest delivery includes medicines to treat children with leukaemia, lymphomas and melanoma.
The medicines are being provided under a joint WHO–Ministry of Health project, funded by NOC and its international partners, to strengthen paediatric cancer care in Libya. More than 700 child cancer patients in 4 hospitals in Libya will benefit from the medicines distributed under this project. Technical support for the project is provided by the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome, Italy.
Dr Ahmed Zouiten, WHO Representative and Head of Mission in Libya, said that the project would give children in Libya diagnosed with cancer the best possible chance to survive and enjoy full and healthy lives. Dr Zouiten added: “Through this joint project, we were able to procure essential anti-cancer medicines and building the capacity of health care staff in oncological departments on how to use and maintain the equipment, prepare and administer chemotherapy, provide palliative care and help support families.”
Dr Halema Alfaitouri, Head of the Pharmaceutical Department in Benghazi Children’s Hospital, expressed her gratitude to WHO and NOC: “These medicines will help save many lives. Thanks to this new delivery, we have enough medicines to treat our child cancer patients for the next 2 to 3 months. We have already seen an increase in the number of children with complete clinical remission of their cancers.”
Globally, the inequities in cancer care are staggering. More than 80% of children with cancer in high-income countries are cured; in low- and middle-income countries, less than 30% are cured. WHO is working to ensure that every child with cancer in Libya receives the best possible care.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.