9 Sep 2008

Fiji health ministry hopes to have radiotherapy unit in near future

1:41 pm on 9 September 2008

Fiji's Ministry of Health says it doesn't intend to spend more on preventive cancer care, but plans to offer radiation treatment in about five years.

It was responding to the Medical Association which is calling for a bigger budget to better detect and cater for the country's cancer sufferers.

The Ministry's director for curative health services, Dr Ami Chandra, says it spends about 300 000 US dollars a year on early cancer detection, which is enough.

"For the preventative programme, it's all right, but for curative care, if we were to have a radiotherapy unit, it's definitely not enough and it'll cost another 25 to thirty million (FIJI dollars) to just set that unit up. We hope to work towards that in the near future."

Dr Chandra says it has trained nurses and pharmacists to offer chemotherapy treatment, and is also planning to train some doctors at the end of the year.