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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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Government To Bear The Full Cost Of Paediatric Oncology Treatment

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In view to make Oncology treatment available to all and create a more inclusive and equitable society, Government has, in Budget 2023-2024, made provision to bear the full costs of such treatments for all children below the age of 18 years who are diagnosed with cancer or display highly suspicious symptoms of cancer.

The welfare of the most vulnerable groups of society, especially children has always been high on the agenda of the Government whereby the implementation of several measures such as the CSG Child Allowance and; the abolition of Value Added Tax on baby products, amongst others, were announced in the 2023-2024 budget. In the same vein, Government has been very much attentive to the painful situation that families undergo when a child is diagnosed with cancer.

Previously, overseas treatment for paediatric cancer patients was limited to households earning up to Rs 100,000 monthly and the grant amount for treatment was only up to Rs 1 Million which was usually not adequate to cover the full costs of the specialised treatments in the best oncology centres. In addition, several families could not benefit from such assistance owing to these restrictive criteria.

It is in this context that a Paediatric Oncology Cell has been set up at the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development (MOFEPD) to receive applications from paediatric patients who have been diagnosed with cancer or display highly suspicious symptoms of cancer.

The whole objective of this Scheme, operational since 01 July 2023, is to offer the best available treatment and care to these patients through the best expertise until they are deemed to be in complete remission.

The Scheme will also cover the cost of medical bills, which are outstanding as at 01 July 2023 for paediatric patients who are already following cancer treatment outside public hospitals of Mauritius. The costs to be borne under the Scheme will be met by the Solidarity Fund, which operates under the aegis of the MOFEPD.

Given the complexity and the need to provide the best level of care and treatment available to these children, Government has assumed responsibility to refer these paediatric cancer patients to overseas Centres of Excellence in Oncology. The protocol for treatment will be assessed by the Medical Panel of the Ministry of Health and Wellness through the Overseas Treatment Unit of the Ministry which will process the applications and ensure that all patients receive the best appropriate treatment.

Moreover, the services of Non-Governmental Organisations will also be enlisted to provide additional administrative support in terms of overall case management to beneficiaries and the parent/s of an eligible child shall decide whether the child will follow treatment in a public or private hospital in Mauritius or abroad.

The Paediatric Oncology Scheme is applicable to all children who are:

  • Citizen and resident of the Republic of Mauritius;
  • Below the age of 18;
  • Suffering from cancer or displaying highly suspicious symptoms of cancer that cannot be diagnosed locally; and
  • Already following treatment for any form of cancer.

To benefit from the Scheme, interested persons can make their applications to the Paediatric Oncology Cell set up at the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, 5th Floor, New Government Centre, Port Louis on the application form available either from the Cell directly or from the website of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development at https://mof.govmu.org.

The duly filled application form with all relevant supporting documents should be submitted either to the Paediatric Oncology Cell, 5th Floor, Government House, Port Louis or to [email protected].

For any additional information with regard to the Scheme, kindly contact the Paediatric Oncology Cell on the 260 1300 (Extension: 5141 or 5170).

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