KUCHING: The Sarawak government should consider to have its own cancer centre to help those in the B40 group and whose household income is RM5,000 and below, suggested Permatang Pauh member of parliament, Nurul Izzah Anwar.
“In fact it is high time for Sarawak to have its own cancer centre to support the cause of cancer patients who cannot afford treatment which is considered costly.
“I suggest to the state government, perhaps your parliamentarians or assemblymen should table this in Parliament or the State Legislative Assembly because having your own cancer centre is very important to help the B40 group or those who cannot afford the treatment,” said Nurul Izzah when speaking at the ROSE Foundation Programme at the State Youth and Sports Complex here yesterday.
The programme here was the third after Miri and Sg Asap. It was held in collaboration with Etiqa and the Deputy Prime Minister’s office.
Nurul added that when it comes to health, it should be blind to any political beliefs, regardless of who is the ruling government.
“In fact, we should be concerned about our people’s health and urgency to facilitate the people with better accessible medical facilities,” she said.
The ROSE (Removing Obstacles to Cervical Screening) programme started off as a research project led by Universiti Malaya, the first and the only one in this region, to assess the adaptability, feasibility and reach of a novel cervical screening strategy that utilises self-sampling in primary care settings.
Speaking about this programme, Nurul Izzah, being a believer and a strong supporter of ROSE programme, said it is crucial for women to get screened for cervical cancer.
“This awareness for women is very important because it teaches you how to self check yourself without going through the hassle of doing it the traditional way.
“In fact, for the past years, the data on women going for their pap smear was only below 13 per cent which is too low.
“Now, you can self check by using the ‘Self Swap’, it is more precise and gives you the privacy.
“We want to spread this awareness to every woman in Malaysia to get themselves checked. If you are diagnosed to have cervix cancer at Stage 1, 2, 3 or 4, at least at the initial stage a patient could go for the treatment or follow-ups” she said.
Meanwhile, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How agreed that the state government should have its own cancer centre as it cannot just rely on non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
“This one (proposed cancer centre), the current government maybe can take it up, putting the efforts to build one, not just through the effort of ROSE, or other NGOs as we have limited number of them.
“It is a good project, Sarawakians deserve to have one cancer centre.
“We already have the Heart Institute in Samarahan, we thank the previous government for that, we may also need a cancer centre in Sarawak to help Sarawakians,” said See, who is also a special officer to the Minister of Works.
As for Puncak Borneo parliamentarian Willie Mongin, he said they continuously do health screening programmes in collaboration with NGOs and churches.
“It’s an ongoing project and as a parliamentarian, I would like to propose and suggest to the state government to at least set up one cancer centre in Sarawak. It is expensive for my constituents to get treatment if they have to fly to Kuala Lumpur each time,” he said.
Also present at the programme was ROSE Foundation director Viji Nair who spoke about the role of ROSE Foundation.
“The good news is that cervical cancer can be prevented. One of the most important new developments in cervical cancer prevention is HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) testing.
“ROSE programmes combine HPV testing with self-sampling and a mobile e-health system,” she said.
PKR Sarawak advisor Dato Sri Hafsah Harun, who is also the non-executive special advisor (Sarawak affairs) in the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, thanked Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for allowing Nurul Izzah to enter Sarawak for the ROSE Foundation programme.
“This programme has nothing to do with politics, race or religion but it is for the women in Sarawak,” she said.