NGO welcomes federal allocation to healthcare

KUCHING: Society for Cancer Advocacy and Awareness Kuching welcomes the Federal Budget 2019 on healthcare but rues the State Budget 2019 for its silence of the subject.

Its president Sew Boon Lui said they saw promise in the increase of 7.8 percent from the 2018 budget in allocation to healthcare in the national budget in view of many key issues that were lacking in the nation’s cancer healthcare system and the increase in cancer cases in recent years.

However, Sew said while the state budget provided huge sums to dilapidated schools, rural infrastructure and housing, there was no mention on how health care would be taken care of.

Sew said as far as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were concerned, they hoped the government healthcare effort would be comprehensive.

“While we understand that early detection may help reduce the mortality rate of cancer in the country, we must also make sure that the hospitals are able to cope with the increase load that these cancer screening programs will certainly bring.

“Sarawak has a lack of specialists and treatment facilities as it stands, thus we must make sure to address these issues urgently.

“Otherwise we are only letting those screened know that they have cancer and not giving them timely treatment,” she said.

Education, like healthcare, is under the purview of the federal government. The State Budget 2019 has put aside RM81.7 billion to address the issue of more than 1,000 dilapidated schools in Sarawak when the national budget was silent on the subject.