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Health Ministry Working on Strategic Cancer Plan

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Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says that a strategic plan is being developed for the treatment of cancer.

He said the idea is to provide an integrated approach to cancer treatment and care, and over time establish a centre of excellence, where quality care will be available at an affordable cost.

The Health Minister, who was speaking to JIS News after his presentation at Friday’s (January 25) neurosciences symposium at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, said that the Ministry has identified cancer as a “big ideas” project, with major focus placed on the disease.

“We have, in the first year, improved significantly, the chemotherapy unit at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and we are looking now at improving critical pieces of equipment for radiation,” he said. There has also been major upgrading of the cancer wards of the KPH and Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James.

In his presentation at the symposium, the Minister reiterated plans to launch a “broad spectrum attack” on the disease to involve prevention, screening, early diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.

“We will, on a phased basis, streamline the cancer care path and systematically remove the bottlenecks to effective treatment, including reducing the high cost associated with its care and treatment,” he stated.

Dr. Ferguson said he would be ready to work with the private sector, voluntary groups, universities, the Diaspora, the Caribbean Neurological Association and any other organization willing to collaborate in the effort.

He stated that the establishment of an 18-station chemotherapy ward at the KPH, “is just the beginning of things to come”.

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