Idle med­i­cal ser­vices for can­cer preven­tion

The UB Post - - Front Page - By T.BAYARBAT

The Na­tional Can­cer Cen­ter in co­op­er­a­tion with some com­mer­cial banks and me­dia has been car­ry­ing out the an­nual cam­paign against can­cer na­tion­wide since 2010. Ob­vi­ously, the key aim of the cam­paign is to raise pub­lic aware­ness about can­cer and to en­cour­age its preven­tion, de­tec­tion, and treat­ment. As can­cer is the most common cause of death among Mon­go­lians, the an­nual cam­paign must raise aware­ness about the im­por­tance of pre­vent­ing can­cer.

Through the eight-year cam­paign, the num­ber of ill­ness and death caused by can­cer should be re­duced and pub­lic aware­ness of can­cer should be raised, but the an­nual cam­paign doesn’t seem to be car­ried out in the most ef­fec­tive man­ner. The cam­paign is car­ried out in prov­inces, but it doesn’t reach the lo­cal peo­ple who need can­cer screen­ing tests and those af­fected by can­cer don’t re­ceive sup­port of­fered through the cam­paign.

There are more than 3,200 med­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions with roughly 50,000 em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing pub­lic and pri­vate hos­pi­tals, clinics, and other med­i­cal cen­ters op­er­at­ing to pro­vide med­i­cal care across the coun­try, but re­ceiv­ing med­i­cal ser­vices, es­pe­cially can­cer treat­ment ser­vices or can­cer preven­tion health ser­vices, can be very hard for reg­u­lar peo­ple with­out good con­nec­tions or siz­able dis­pos­able in­come.

Ac­cord­ing to an an­nual med­i­cal re­port, 5,000 to 7,500 peo­ple are di­ag­nosed with can­cer ev­ery year.

As of 2017, the great­est num­ber of can­cer among Mon­go­lians is liver can­cer, which makes up 38 per­cent of to­tal can­cer pa­tients; 14.6 per­cent of peo­ple af­fected by can­cer had stom­ach can­cer; 7.2 per­cent had lung can­cer or tra­cheal can­cer; 5.9 per­cent cer­vi­cal can­cer; 5.7 per­cent esophageal can­cer; 4.1 per­cent breast can­cer; and colon can­cer is at four per­cent.

As dirty nee­dles were the most common means of trans­mis­sion of hep­ati­tis B and C virus in­fec­tion be­cause hos­pi­tals be­fore the 1990s would re­use nee­dles after at­tempt­ing to ster­il­ize them, a large num­ber of peo­ple above the age of 40 make up those in­fected with hep­ati­tis B and C, which is why liver can­cer amongst mid­dle aged peo­ple is a lead­ing cause of can­cer-re­lated deaths.

Al­co­holism and un­healthy eat­ing habits of Mon­go­lians af­fect peo­ple, es­pe­cially those in­fected with hep­ati­tis B and C, to be­come ef­fected with liver can­cer or colon can­cer. Smok­ing and air pol­lu­tion might cause most lung and tra­cheal can­cers.

Prob­lem is that as many Mon­go­lians lack of knowl­edge about can­cer, or dead­li­est dis­eases by some stan­dards, and they don’t take enough pre­cau­tions against can­cer. They ig­nore symp­toms and a lot of peo­ple, es­pe­cially peo­ple in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and herders, don’t go to hos­pi­tals to see doc­tors un­til the fi­nal stages of can­cer.

As no one wants to die from a treat­able disease, every­body wants to see a doc­tor to get pre­ven­tive health care, but most can’t ac­cess the treat­ment they need due to state hos­pi­tal bu­reau­cracy, or they can­not af­ford the pre­scribed med­i­ca­tion, screen­ing tests, and most sim­ple don’t have the time to get pre­vent­ing care amidst the dif­fi­cul­ties as­so­ci­ated with med­i­cal care pro­vi­sion.

If you want to see a doc­tor at a pub­lic hos­pi­tal for can­cer care, you will need at least two or three weeks, be­cause first you need to make an ap­point­ment to see a doc­tor spe­cial­iz­ing in par­tic­u­lar dis­eases at a pub­lic hos­pi­tal after see­ing a doc­tor at your lo­cal clinic. Un­for­tu­nately, the ap­point­ment will be at least two weeks after your ini­tial visit to a gen­eral physi­cian. Al­though pub­lic hos­pi­tals were equipped in re­cent years with a lab­o­ra­tory and proper equip­ment for di­ag­nos­ing pa­tients, the pub­lic has not re­ceived enough med­i­cal ser­vices from pub­lic hos­pi­tals due to heavy work­loads and bu­reau­cracy.

When you see the spe­cial­ized physi­cian after a long-awaited ap­point­ment, the physi­cian asks you to take many un­re­lated and ex­pen­sive tests at pri­vate hos­pi­tals or pur­chase costly med­i­ca­tion, which is why many peo­ple avoid hos­pi­tals. That is how Mon­go­lian health­care sys­tem works.

Dur­ing the an­nual cam­paign, or­ga­niz­ers claim that as pre­vent­ing can­cer is the best solution for re­duc­ing the im­pacts of can­cer on so­ci­ety, they will be host­ing the cam­paign ev­ery year. In re­al­ity, when it comes to can­cer preven­tion, pub­lic hos­pi­tals do not en­cour­age peo­ple to get tested for can­cer preven­tion. When you ask a doc­tor at your lo­cal pub­lic hos­pi­tal to get an ap­proval for tak­ing a blood test for can­cer marker to de­tect can­cer ac­tiv­ity in your body, the doc­tor will ask you why you would want to be tested if you’re in good health. To give you the ap­proval, the doc­tor re­views your med­i­cal his­tory, and if you have no his­tory of dis­eases or cases which could cause risk of a can­cer, the doc­tor will never give you the ap­proval. Even when you have a his­tory of dis­eases that might lead to can­cer, the doc­tor will ask you a num­ber of ques­tions so as not to is­sue an ap­proval to go to the Na­tional Can­cer Cen­ter for a test for can­cer preven­tion.

If you tell the doc­tor that you are try­ing to take pre­ven­tive ac­tion, the doc­tor will sug­gest you to take the can­cer marker test for 50,000 MNT ahead of ev­ery­one else, which is sup­posed to be cov­ered by health in­sur­ance.

Can­cer preven­tion screen­ings are sup­posed to be free to the pub­lic, but un­for­tu­nately, most peo­ple are not aware of can­cer marker tests and pub­lic hos­pi­tals don’t give peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to use their health in­sur­ance en­ti­tle­ments.

A per­son earn­ing a me­dian salary in Mon­go­lia pays a health in­sur­ance fee of nearly 20,000 MNT from their monthly salary and their em­ployer also pay a monthly fee of nearly 20,000 MNT for that per­son, which means that around 480,000 MNT goes to the Na­tion’s Health In­sur­ance Fund for that per­son.

Though a work­ing in­di­vid­ual pays the cost of eight to nine can­cer marker tests a year, they can­not use that money at all for them­selves, or for can­cer preven­tion.

Some law­mak­ers put for­ward a pro­posal to cre­ate a health­care sys­tem to make it manda­tory for all em­ploy­ers of pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors to help pro­vide free can­cer preven­tion tests to their em­ploy­ees above the age of 40, but whether this pro­posal will be put to ac­tion is un­cer­tain.

The cur­rent in­ef­fi­cient and re­stricted can­cer preven­tion ef­forts will not de­crease the preva­lence of can­cer and di­min­ish its threat to the na­tion. The state must carry out a com­pre­hen­sive re­form in the health sec­tor so as to make it ef­fi­cient and cus­tomer ori­en­tated rather than the cur­rent heav­ily bu­reau­cratic and in­ef­fec­tive sys­tem we have in place.

...If you want to see a doc­tor at a pub­lic hos­pi­tal for can­cer care, you will need at least two or three

weeks...

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