16 NGOs, health dept, Socso come together for cancer patients
KUCHING: Sixteen cancerrelated organisations came together with the Sarawak Health Department and Social Security Organisation ( Socso) to share, discuss and review the National Strategic Plan for Cancer Control Programme ( NCCP) 2016 to 2020.
According to a press statement, Sarawak Patients Organisations Knowledge Exchange ( SPOKE) 2019 was held at Chemsain Building, Jalan Rock here yesterday with the objective of bringing up issues that cancer patients in Sarawak faced.
Invalidity Pension Scheme was also a topic for discussion as there had been calls for cancer patients to be eligible.
Cancer Research Malaysia ( CRM) gave a presentation on cancer research in Malaysia and Maheswari Jaganathan showed CRM’s plan to introduce Cancer Patient Navigation to Sarawak as it has been shown to reduce barrier to cancer care, improve adherence and reduce treatment defaulters.
Dr Arnil Sirimanne, representing Sarawak Health Director Dr Jamilah Hashim, gave a talk on the progress of NCCP in Sarawak.
He said that some of the issues faced by Sarawakians include distance and travel cost to seek treatment, financial cost of cancer especially loss of income, education and awareness of patients, and defaulting on treatment.
Phillip Sangkan, Sarawak Socso director gave a presentation on the schemes applicable to cancer patients. He elaborated on invalidity pension scheme and highlighted the return- to-work programme under that scheme as well as clarified guidelines for the schemes eligibility.
Among the other issues raised during the discussion panel were how screening of cervical and prostate cancer can be more effective and how counselling can assist patients to reduce default rate.
Following a discussion on the smoking ban, Prof Datin Paduka Dr Teo Soo-Hwang, CEO of CRM, said that while eateries might feel the pinch in the short term, studies have shown that the income of the eateries would return to normal.
The participants unanimously agreed to the call on Sarawak government to expedite the smoking ban with a joint statement to be made expressing the NGOs view and further recommendation to make the implementation more successful in Sarawak.
Representatives of 16 cancer-related organisations, Sarawak Health Department and Sosco in a photocall.