A Member of Parliament yesterday blamed the government for its failure to fully declare free medication for cancer patients despite acknowledging a burden to victims in financing their treatments.
According to MP Riziki Omar Juma (CUF), cancer treatments was offered freely to some referral hospitals which principally runs out on medicines due to over demands, prompting a number of patients to effectively dig deep into their pocket to access treatments.
The legislator faulted the government strategies saying majority are poor and thus bars them from getting treatments.
She said due to lack of medical laboratory centres to determine individuals with cancer especially in rural areas, majority find out about the disease when it is too late.
Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Seif Rashid acknowledged the scope and expenses for cancer treatment saying more than 30 percent of patients discharged for further medication abroad are victims of cancer.
He said despite the government commitment to offer free treatment to patients suffering from cancer, the majority have been forced to get the services at their own cost due to shortage of medicines in public hospitals and at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute. “We have realised the majority of patients attending cancer treatment did not undergo tests to detect the sickness at the early stage….this is because we only have 81 centres that offer testing throughout the country,” he said. “It’s true that cancer treatment is very expansive. A patient attending medication is entitled among other medicines to get 12 injections which cost 3.6m/-,” he said.
The deputy named public areas where cancer treatment is offered freely as Bugando Medical Centre, Ocean Road Cancer Institute and Indian referral Hospitals.
Meanwhile the minister responsible for Health Dr Hussein Mwinyi said the government will evaluate performance of the Medical Stores Department (MSD) to see the possibility of allocating direct funds from Treasury rather than including it in the ministry of Health.
The allocated funds include those used in purchasing medicines and working equipment.