KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) is considering using part of its Budget 2021 allocation to build a Sarawak Cancer Centre, said Dr Adham Baba.
Meanwhile, the health minister also stated that MOH will continue to improve medical equipment for the purpose of cancer treatment in existing hospitals in the state of Sarawak.
Senator Alan Ling Sie Kiong had asked Dr Adham to state the ministry’s plan to use part of its 2021 budget allocation to build the Sarawak Cancer Centre.
“Cancer treatment services in Sarawak are available at Sarawak General Hospital (HUS) in Kuching, Sibu Hospital, Miri Hospital, Kapit Hospital and Sarikei Hospital,” Dr Adham replied Ling in a written reply in Dewan Negara last December 21.
“Services at HUS have been equipped with Linear Accelerator (LINAC) equipment, Treatment Planning System, Conventional Simulator, CT-Simulator and Brachytherapy.”
According to Dr Adham, there are four radiotherapy and oncology experts in HUS. In addition, Sarawak also has medical, surgery, gynaecology and paediatric specialists who are involved in the treatment of cancer patients in other hospitals according to their respective disciplines.
In 2015, MOH spent RM85.82 million for the state of Sarawak. Of that amount, RM27 million has been used to purchase brainsuite tools, to be used in brain tumor surgeries and RM19.68 million were used for the procurement of LINAC tool to be used in the radiotherapy treatment for cancer patients.
It is to be noted that the Cancer Awareness Survey 2018 Report by the Society for Cancer Advocacy (SCAN) found that about half of participants in a survey among Sarawakians rated the quality of health care for cancer in Sarawak as “only fair” or “poor”.
SCAN president Sew Boon Lui had also stated that Sarawak only had six oncologists as of 2017, whereas according to the ideal ratio for Sarawak’s 2.47 million population, the state should have 24 oncologists.
The recommended ratio of oncologists to the Malaysian population is 10 to one million.