With the recent signing of an extension to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between City Cancer Challenge Foundation (C/Can), the newly-elected administration of Porto Alegre and the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul, C/Can sat down with the State Governor, Eduardo Leite, to talk about this renewed commitment, what it means for the city, as well as the power of partnerships to drive public policy for lasting impact.
A former city mayor, Eduardo Leite assumed office as State Governor of Rio Grande do Sul around the same time that the state’s capital of Porto Alegre joined C/Can, two years ago.
Since that time, the C/Can initiative in Porto Alegre has provided a striking example of commitment and participation by city stakeholders to drive change in cancer care. In total, 36 local institutions have been part of the C/Can City Engagement Process in Porto Alegre, with 168 healthcare professionals from 33 institutions and 98 patients involved in the Needs Assessment. The C/Can Technical Committee is driven by 17 local experts from 16 different institutions, a group that serves an important role in advising the City Executive Committee and coordinating technical and operational work plans of the prioritised city projects.
“We can all be very good individually, but nothing is better than all of us working together in understanding the problem and looking together for solutions. This partnership with C/Can provides an opportunity to understand the best solutions, improving them and implementing these solutions at a local level.”
Working together to improve quality in pathology
As part of the city’s Pathology project, around 80% of Porto Alegre’s pathology service providers were part of developing the Quality Manual, which also involved a wider review panel composed of city-level and international experts, including C/Can partners, the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the Brazilian Society of Pathology. Working together, the process ensured that the manual serves to improve the quality of the city’s pathology laboratories.
From the governor’s perspective, it is this remarkable mobilisation of experts and stakeholders that have helped to accelerate progress in delivering cancer care solutions for the city.
“I think it is extremely important that when it comes to improving public policies, we need to better coordinate the actors, from the universities, hospitals, civil society, and governments to achieve the same objective. This initiative has helped to create better synergy between all the parties so that we can achieve the goals of reduction of deaths and the maximum reduction of cases.”
Towards equitable access to cancer care
Looking ahead, Governor Leite sees not only the long-term impact of the C/Can initiative for Porto Alegre but its potential to have a more widespread impact in Brazil.
“This is an opportunity to turn this benchmarking into a success story to be replicated in other municipalities in the state and throughout Brazil.“
As Porto Alegre’s leaders renew their commitment to being a participating C/Can city, the governor insists that collaboration will be key to achieving the ultimate goal of improving equitable access to quality cancer care.
“No one alone has the answer, but all together, certainly, we can find the best answers on how to improve public policies so that we can have an early diagnosis and the best treatment possible, offered to everyone in an equitable way so that all people, from all social classes have access to treatment.”