Ambassador’s Remarks for the International Cancer Control Leadership Forum in Central Asia

Assalomu Alaykum! Доброе утро! Good morning!

I would like to thank Deputy Prime Minister Ikramov, I would like to thank representatives from the Republican Cancer Institute here in Uzbekistan, the National Cancer Institute of the United States and many partners, who helped to organize this conference today. It truly is a remarkable event and I want to be very brief, so that the experts can get to work.

I am really only here to talk about why the United States supports this initiative. That is because at the base of all of this, the research, all of the thinking and the talking, at the base of all of it is the human being. The person, who is suffering from cancer, the person, who hopes not to contract cancer in any form.

According to the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, cancer is the third leading cause of death in Uzbekistan and the second leading cause of death in the United States.  Rates like this exist all over the region, all over the world, which means that cancer takes the lives of millions of people every year, as all of you know.  And this gives all of us a shared reason to fight this terrible disease.

Many of our U.S. presidents have been at the forefront of making this a matter of policy. Since he came into office in 2009, President Obama has made fighting for global health a U.S. foreign policy priority.  President Obama believes much more can be done to save lives if we work through partnerships as we’ve just heard. Partnerships solve the world’s worst health problems by taking advantage of the talents, technology, energy and resources of every country.  And that’s why we are pleased to see Uzbekistan’s health professionals and policy officials take up the challenge of fighting cancer on a regional level by hosting this very unique and important conference.

For generations, the United States and its partners have been committed to combating cancer.  It is a battle that’s been fought by medical researchers, devoted health care professionals, and of course the many family members of people, who are living with cancer.

And over the decades a great deal has been achieved. According to the statistics that I read, in the United States, the overall rates of cancer deaths have decreased by 20 per cent in the last twenty years, and most survivors live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than ever before.  And yet as we’ve already heard, the burden of cancer continues to grow globally and strong partnership is essential for effectively reducing this pain and suffering. Strategic, comprehensive cancer control planning is a key investment for countries to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality, and limit the impact of cancer on national economies and the health of their citizens.

The National Cancer Institute is committed to working jointly with the broad international community, regional partners, national governments, and national cancer institutes and centers on improving cancer control in Central Asia.  The Institute’s collaboration with countries in the region will remain focused on issues Central Asian partners have identified as pressing challenges, including pediatric, gastrointestinal and gynecological cancers, as well as palliative care.

We are pleased that this initiative in conducting regional cancer control outreach has been well received in Central Asia and is strongly supported by leading international associations and collaborating partners.  Such united efforts by the international community are vital to ensuring successful outcomes from this cancer control initiative and will lead to stronger partnerships moving forward.

The United States and the governments of Central Asia are strong partners in a wide range of activities – and today we stand together again as partners committed to meet one of the world’s greatest health challenges.  I am happy to be here today to support the International Cancer Control Leadership Forum, which will serve as the first step in a long-term, continuous commitment from the international community and from Central Asian countries to reduce the prevalence of cancer in the region.  I know that together we can make a difference.

Thank you, спасибо, and katta rahmat!