City-wide health workforces are at the forefront of effective and equitable service provision and management. Recognizing the challenges that complex diseases like cancer imply for health workers, C/Can works with local stakeholders to strengthen the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources that cities need to deliver quality cancer care. C/Can does this in multiple ways, ranging from training to global partnerships to knowledge sharing.
By using digital technologies, C/Can enables knowledge transfer among cancer care professionals. The partnership with Project ECHO demonopolizes knowledge through a series of virtual sessions on a range of cancer care topics. These sessions allow participants to share strategies they have implemented to tackle challenges at local levels. A distance education program with contact sessions based on principles of adult learning supports local cancer care workers in Yangon (Myanmar), Kumasi (Ghana) and Kigali (Rwanda) to enhance palliative care. In partnership with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, mid-career female oncologists in LMICs partake in virtual and in-person sessions to strengthen their skills as changemakers to become impact leaders and create lasting change for future generations of women in the cancer field.
C/Can also leverages the power of networks within and between cities to build effective and sustainable models to strengthen capacities for improved cancer care. This city-based approach drives global innovation through local channels and brings state-of-the-art cancer solutions to coalitions of stakeholders who are positioned to have the greatest impact. Such knowledge exchange facilitates the implementation of consensus-based, citywide practice guidelines across the continuum of care, and then building know-how for the implementation of those guidelines among a multisectoral coalition of cancer care providers from the public and private sectors. For example, in Asunción, Paraguay, C/Can worked with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare, the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the National University of Asunción, the Social Security Institute, and the San Roque Group to develop guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of breast and cervical cancer, both of which are now adopted at a national scale. The groundwork for this policy innovation was laid by C/Can’s city engagement process, which produced a needs assessment identifying cancer care priorities.
C/Can’s city networks including in Paraguay support the implementation of newly adopted cancer care guidelines by targeting key health systems capacities with tailored trainings driven by local stakeholders. To do this, C/Can takes a holistic and city driven approach whereby local professionals develop and carry out the workshops, thus ensuring responsiveness to local needs and capacities.
Across the cities in which C/Can works, city’s capacity needs are also met by leveraging local and global cancer networks, which often become embedded within local health systems. For example, members working closely with C/Can serve as formal government advisers in Asunción and at the department level in Cali, Colombia. Globally, technical support from partnerships with the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the International Agency on Research on Cancer pave the way for improved capacities at local levels. Strategic engagements with key stakeholders in cities and globally, enable C/Can to help to strengthen local capacities to provide high-quality, equitable, and sustainable cancer care.
C/Can’s multi-pronged approach to strengthening the capacity of local workforces for the delivery of equitable and quality cancer care reveals that diversifying entry points for NCD needs is essential. Moreover, it is critical that these varied approaches are oriented towards embeddedness as this enables long-term sustainability.