27 Mar 2014

Cancer treatment still too costly in the Pacific despite efforts in prevention

7:19 pm on 27 March 2014

The World Health Organisation says cancer is not on the radars of Fiji and Pacific health systems, due to the cost of treating it.

The Coordinator of Non-communicable Diseases from WHO's office in the Pacific, Dr Temo Waqanivalu, says Fiji does a very good job on prevention of diseases.

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency is in Fiji this week to assess and advise on cancer prevention and treatment.

Dr Arsen Juric, who is coordinating the visit, says due to the high rates of breast and cervical cancer, their recommendations will include ways of reducing mortality rates.

Dr Waqanivalu says Fiji is planning towards a cancer treatment facility for the region in the next few years.

"Because of costs, mostly and the required skills and expertise to actually run some of the proven and effective clinical interventions like the radiotherapy, that's where the health system in the Pacific definitely struggles with and this effort by Fiji is one of the first few stepping into that space."

Dr Temo Waqanivalu from the World Health Organisation.