Health ministry to procure radiation treatment machines
MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Ministry of Health will be acquiring two state-of-the-art linear accelerators, which will eliminate the cost of radiation treatment for some types of breast cancer.
This treatment now costs an average of $200,000 per dose, with patients needing between 17 and 18 doses of radiation. "This is over $3 million," Health Minister Fenton Ferguson said while delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony for Soe Htwe Medicare in Montego Bay on Sunday.
Cancer is among the range of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that the Ministry of Health is aiming to reduce the death rate of
by 25 per cent by the year 2025.
Minister Ferguson said NCDs, such as diabetes, hypertension, cancers, and the respiratory diseases, account for 70 per cent of all deaths in Jamaica. Of this number, cancers account for between 20 and 21 per cent.
He said Jamaica is facing an NCD epidemic and that the Government, in partnership with the United Nations World Health Assembly, is therefore seeking to reduce the rate within the next 10 years.
The minister said a World Bank-commissioned study in 2007 showed that the direct and indirect treatment of the two leading NCDs -- diabetes and high blood pressure, was costing Jamaica US$461 million per annum.
The Htwe Medicare, located on Montego Bay's 'Hip Strip', consists of medical offices and a pharmacy and represents a US$2-million investment from the Burmese/Jamaican, family physicians Drs Soe Naung and Khine Naung.