Doha - HRH Princess Lalla Salma, chairwoman of the Lalla Salma foundation for cancer prevention and treatment, delivered a speech at the opening of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) which opened on Tuesday in Doha.
Here follows the full text of the speech:
" Praise be to God,
May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I should like to say how happy I am to take part in the World Innovation Summit for Health, which is being hosted by our sister nation the State of Qatar.
I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to my dear sister, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al Missned, Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, for the hospitality and the particularly warm, cordial welcome extended to us.
I also wish to praise the commendable actions which Her Highness has been sponsoring, and which have made it possible for the Qatar Foundation to play an active role in various social welfare fields, especially with respect to the development of the education and health sectors.
It would be remiss not to acknowledge the praiseworthy efforts made by Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, the Executive Chair of the Summit, to convene this key international event.
Given the importance and topical nature of the items on the agenda of this Summit, which is attended by leading experts who boast vast expertise and display great acumen, I am sure this meeting will contribute to finding effective answers and adopting tangible, long-lasting solutions to promote innovation in healthcare globally.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It will not be possible to accomplish the highest levels of achievement in theoretical scientific research and encourage innovation in applied science unless we make people our main concern. The achievement of such a goal also hinges on international institutional cooperation, as well as on the mobilization of the intellectual and individual expertise that changes things for the better.
May I point out that innovation is not restricted to technology, medicine, treatment and surgery. Innovation is just as important when it comes to ideas, policies, approaches and work methods to ensure access to treatment.
Under the sagacious leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI - may God assist him - and as part of the national strategic plan, the Kingdom of Morocco has adopted an innovative policy in the area of healthcare in general, and the fight against the deadly scourge of cancer in particular.
Let me give you a brief overview of our experience which, over just a short period of time, has proven to be a success thanks to the adoption of this innovative approach.
The fight against cancer is hardly a new subject. Nevertheless, the innovative approach we have adopted has enabled us to achieve satisfactory results.
The Lalla Salma Foundation for Cancer Prevention and Treatment, which I am honored to chair, has been actively involved in this innovative policy through an integrated, comprehensive approach to fight cancer. It has used a participatory method involving all the parties and stakeholders concerned, including cancer patients and their relatives. Efforts have also been made to secure the adequate funds needed, train the human resources required, encourage scientific research and make sure the Kingdom interacts with its regional environment.
The Foundation’s comprehensive approach focuses, above all, on prevention through an effective partnership with the ministries of Health and National Education, and also with the full range of media outlets.
As regards treatment, the Foundation has actively sought to increase the number of specialized hospital units. There are 9 such centers today, which are fitted out with the latest equipment and which use advanced technologies. Seven of them are fully operational.
Similarly, 24 nuclear particle accelerators have been provided in just 5 years, thanks to a virtually unique partnership between civil society, the Ministry of Health, public authorities, elected national and local officials and academic institutions.
As regards provision of the required medicines to cancer patients, especially poor people, the Foundation has managed to cover 100% of the needs of children and of women with breast cancer. Coverage has also been reinforced by the compulsory health insurance scheme, as well as the medical assistance scheme, which was launched in 2011 by His Majesty King Mohammed VI - God be with him. This scheme covers the needs of 8.5 million people, which is 100% of the low-income population.
Another feature of the innovative dimension of the Foundation’s action is the assistance given to cancer patients. They benefit from the services provided in ‘life homes’. These are accommodation facilities which enable patients to receive treatment in a family environment, for the duration of their therapy and in the best circumstances possible.
Given the importance of training specialized human resources in the fight against cancer, the Foundation has given special attention to this aspect.
Similarly, and convinced of the need to strengthen scientific research in the areas of prevention and treatment, the Foundation has, this year, issued calls for research projects on cancer, including child cancer, leukemia and solid tumors. Eligible projects will be sponsored by the Foundation.
The Foundation could not have accomplished all it has achieved had it not adopted innovative approaches and methods to secure funding, through the support of various actors as well as through effective partnerships with the parties concerned, particularly specialized pharmaceutical labs. This has made it possible to reduce the prices of drugs to make them accessible to as many patients as possible.
The goal of innovation should be to enable everyone to benefit from healthcare. In this regard, we urge wealthy developed countries to end their monopoly on scientific innovation in order to prevent the gap between the North and the South from becoming even wider. We also call on them to enable poor countries to have access to innovation and technology so that the citizens of these countries may benefit from them, and to promote cooperation in this field.
In the area of South-South cooperation, the Lalla Salma Foundation has been keen to promote cooperation with sister African nations. Nine countries have been involved in this collaboration so far, and three more countries will be included by the end of this year. God willing, the number of beneficiary countries will increase even further in the coming months.
One of the signs of this effective, fruitful cooperation is the creation of the African School for the training of hundreds of specialists in the fight against cancer.
The development of this especially useful cooperation to cover all aspects in the fight against the disease can only be achieved through the creation of two funds - one regional and the other international - to finance cancer treatment. Morocco has been working untiringly to convince the international community of the imperative need to set up this financing mechanism.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our Foundation has managed to develop its own innovative scientific approach, thanks, first and foremost, to the continuous support and high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, as well as the mobilization and proactive action of the various public authorities and institutions concerned, civil society actors, media organizations and the citizens.
This across-the-board mobilization has given my country a distinctive position in this field. Indeed, we have achieved encouraging results in a short period of time, despite numerous constraints and the limited resources available. Needless to say, we are aware of the magnitude of the challenges faced, and we do realize that there is still a long way to go, and that further innovative action and thinking are required.
I have no doubt in my mind that this international conference will be a resounding success, and that it will adopt important recommendations and pave the way for partnerships that will consolidate fruitful and constructive cooperation and promote the exchange of best practices between participants. The aim is to bring about optimal conditions to promote research and innovation as we address healthcare issues.
The Summit’s acronym - WISH - is also the embodiment of our collective ambition. If I may, on behalf of you all, I should like to make a wish that healthcare will soon become a truly democratic sector. Thank you."