Rabat – Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani announced on Monday that Morocco will soon launch the National Plan for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer 2020-2029, which seeks to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by the disease.
The decision comes in response to a petition that a set of activists and cancer patients launched recently, asking Morocco to improve cancer healthcare and access to treatment.
During a meeting on Monday with some of the activists calling for a cancer fund, El Othmani submitted a reply note regarding the measures Morocco intends to take in line with the petition’s aims.
El Othmani vowed that Morocco will take alternative and immediate supporting measures in favor of cancer patients through the adoption of the national plan.
The official vowed that his government will work to improve the quality of life of cancer patients.
Morocco will also popularize vaccinations against cervical cancer for all girls from the age of 11, starting in 2021.
The measure will concern about 350,000 girls annually, and will advance the elimination of this type of cancer for young generations.
“Our country registers 1,500 new cases annually and the treatment of each of them costs about MAD 100,000 ($10,770),” the head of the government said.
El Othmani also vowed that the government will work to transform the National Institute of Oncology into a public institution that “enjoys financial and administrative independence.”
Morocco will also establish a national committee for cancer prevention and treatment that the head of government will personally chair.
The committee, which will include institutional actors, professionals, and representatives of civil society, will track the progress of the national plan and ensure its good governance.
In addition to his vows to assist cancer patients through several measures, El Othmani also welcomed the initiative of the petition.
He thanked all signatories and members, considering the petition a “democratic act.”
“What our country has achieved in the field of cancer control and prevention over the past years is positive and appreciated, but it does not preclude that there are deficiencies that must be reviewed, and we are glad that it is the first time that a national petition has reached this level,” El Othmani acknowledged.
The head of Morocco’s government also conveyed a message to cancer patients who need special care, treatment, and attention.
“We feel their suffering and pain, and our goal is to make every effort to relieve them and facilitate their treatment,” El Othmani said.
He also reiterated his support for and solidarity with patients.
“I also salute the initiatives of civil society associations and all philanthropists who provide assistance and stand by these patients to alleviate their suffering.”