Nepal to receive childhood cancer medicines free of cost

Himal Press 27 Mar 2024
Nepal to receive childhood cancer medicines free of cost

KATHMANDU: Ministry of Health and Population and World Health Organization (WHO) have reached an understanding to provide free medicines for the treatment of cancer in children in Nepal.

Health Secretary Dr Roshan Pokharel and WHO Nepal Head Dr Rajesh Sambhajirao Pandav signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalizing Nepal’s participation in the Global Platform for Access to Childhood Cancer Medicines (GPACCM) at the Ministry of Health and Population on Wednesday.

The GPACCM is a global platform initiated by St Jude Global and WHO to increase access to lifesaving childhood cancer medicines in low- and middle-income countries.

“As a member of the platform, Nepal will receive 35 types of childhood cancer medicines free of cost for four years. WHO will provide technical support to strengthen the supply chain system and healthcare facilities to ensure the effective distribution of the medicines. UNICEF is the procurement partner of the GPACCM Platform and will be involved in the procurement of the medicines and delivering them to the port of entry,” WHO Nepal Office said in a statement.

in this regard on Wednesday. Speaking on the occasion, Health Secretary Dr Pokharel said that the agreement will make a significant contribution to improving the treatment of children suffering from cancer in Nepal. “The free medicines will be initially made available at four government hospitals. It will be expanded to other hospitals as required,” he added.

Likewise, Dr Pandav said an estimated 900 children are diagnosed with cancer in Nepal. “However, only about one-third of childhood cancer cases receive treatment, primarily due to constraints such as limited access to services and resource scarcity, resulting in increased deaths,” he said. “This innovative platform will help enhance access to cancer care by addressing medicine availability issues and ensure that children who need essential cancer medications can access them, while also helping reduce the financial burden placed upon parents and families of children with cancer.”

Nepal is one of the six countries worldwide and the only one in the WHO South-East Asia Region selected in the GPACCM platform.

Children undergoing treatment at government hospitals including Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital, BP Koirala Cancer Hospital Bharatpur, Kanti Children’s Hospital, and Patan Academy of Health Sciences will receive free cancer medicines.

Published On: 27 Mar 2024


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