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Better Health Care Services For Cancer Treatment Says Minister

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An official ceremony to observe World Cancer Day 2022 and to kickstart  activities organised in this context, was held this Friday 4th February in presence of the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, in Port-Louis.

The activities organised to mark this year’s event include: enhancing cancer sensitisation campaigns; National Screening Programme for cervical cancer aimed at sexually active women aged between 25-60 years; and reinforcing awareness campaigns as regards cancer care, risk factors and good habits on the media.

The 2020 Cancer Report was also launched on the occasion.

In his address, the health minister underlined that World Cancer Day is an ideal occasion to further strengthen our commitment in reducing illness and cancer induced deaths. It also allows countries across the world to refocus and review their respective strategies, he added.

Speaking about this year’s theme ‘Close the Care Gap’, Minister Jagutpal pointed out that the care gaps include barriers to life-saving preventive services, diagnostics, treatment and care. These, he said, are created by socioeconomic factors, stigma, discrimination and lack of knowledge on available treatment and preventive measures.  These care gaps should not exist, he stressed.

The Minister observed that cancer is the main cause of death worldwide and informed that as far as Mauritius is concerned, as per the National Cancer Registry for year 2020, more than 2,800 new cases of cancer were registered in 2020.

He urged everyone to stay away from risk behaviours such as tobacco use, lack of physical activity and poor nutritional habits.

World Cancer Day 2022

Moreover, Dr Jagutpal reiterated his objective of continuing to improve public health care services for cancer treatment while recalling that the Government has greatly improved its treatment capacity over time. On that score, he announced that chemotherapy services which are already available in four regional hospitals, will be soon available at the Dr Bruno Cheong Hospital in Flacq.

He also affirmed that that the infrastructural works of the New Cancer Centre will be completed soon. According to him, this major development will be a game changer in the handling of cancer patients in the country.

Other projects in the pipeline to improve service delivery are: training of staff at all levels of intervention, achieving high levels of performance by benefiting from foreign expertise, upgrading the level of palliative care and validating the National Cancer Control Programme 2022-2025.

Furthermore, the Health Minister highlighted that working together will lead to better prevention and earlier screening, that will allow health professionals to better help those in need.

Also present on the occasion, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Representative in Mauritius, Dr Laurent Musango, called upon all Member States to continue to strengthen their investment to ensure that all citizens have access to quality cancer-care. He lauded the initiatives of the Government of Mauritius as regards cancer prevention, namely the HPV Vaccine Programme as well as the National Cancer Screening Programme.

He reiterated the WHO’s support to the robust screening and early detection programme along with capacity building of staff.

Besides, he stressed on the need to have combined and multisectoral effort to achieve uninterrupted access to safe, affordable and effective cancer-care.

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