KUCHING: The state government has set aside a sum of RM5 million to help patients from poor families bear the cost of going for medical treatment.
Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah, said cancer patients, in particular, find it more cumbersome given their logistical burden besides the treatment.
“The patients’ financial burden is extremely high, particularly for the low-income group from the rural areas as they require numerous visits to Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) to seek treatment since this is the only public facility that provides a complete treatment.
She said this during the lighting of the State Legislative Assembly building in conjunction with World Cancer Day 2022 at Kuching Waterfront.
“Those from outside Kuching would need to spend extra money for transportation and accommodation to get their treatment.
“Hence, the state government has allocated (RM5 million) for not only cancer patients, but for patients with other diseases as well to assist them financially,” she said, adding the financial assistance is also meant to help patients with the cost of medicine.
Towards this end Fatimah disclosed that the State Social Welfare Department (JKM) would help with a monthly assistance of RM200.
“Thus far, we have disbursed the assistance to five cancer patients. Application for this assistance is obtainable from the JKM office statewide or can be applied through the online platform. Eligible patients must be endorsed by their doctors to receive the aid,” she added.
Separately, Fatimah lauded the efforts made by non-government organisations (NGOs) in helping cancer patients.
“The establishment of the said NGOs shows their commitment to help and spread awareness to the public to address cancer related issues.
“As its members consist of cancer survivors, they share their knowledge and experiences so that the targeted groups will go for early screening.
“The support provided by these NGOs is crucial as it promotes better cancer care in Sarawak,” she said.