There are still hurdles that we need to face, namely the lack of knowledge, fear, and even embarrassment to get an examination.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Culture and financing are the main challenges faced by cancer patients in Indonesia, acting director for non-communicable diseases prevention and handling at the Health Ministry, Elvieda Sariwati, has said.

"There are still hurdles that we need to face, namely the lack of knowledge, fear, and even embarrassment to get an examination," she noted.

"This is what we should handle together," she remarked during the 2022 World Cancer Day media briefing entitled "Close the Care Gap," held online on Wednesday.

The government has implemented several strategies to mitigate the problems faced by cancer patients, Sariwati said.

However, due to lack of knowledge and fear of examinations and procedures, people are hesitant to get an early examination, she added.

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These problems stem from an Eastern culture that considers cancer, particularly breast and cervical cancer, as taboo because it necessitates showing intimate organs to health workers, she said.

This fear is exacerbated by families that do not support patients in getting an examination if the need arises for a breast or cervical checkup, she added.

In terms of financing, not every region is ready to spend money on early detection of cancer, she noted.

In fact, services provided by the National Health Insurance (JKN) no longer finance early detection for patients at Public Health Centers (Puskesmas), she said.

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Moreover, not every puskesmas has trained human resources, doctors as well as midwives, thereby limiting cryotherapy for confirmed cancer patients, Sariwati said.

The lack of trained resources has also caused a number of doctors and midwives to experience a decline in treatment compared to the target, she added.

This includes the creation of an information system integrated with the Advance Level Referral Health Facility (FKRTL) to reduce loss of follow-up, she said.

Therefore, the ministry is carrying out various efforts to bolster services for cancer patients, she informed.

These efforts comprise increasing people's knowledge and awareness through information dissemination involving all parties, fulfilling health access through training, and equal distribution of trained workers, Sariwati said.

In addition, the ministry is currently striving to build an information system to integrate First Level Health Facilities (FKTPs), she added.

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Translator: Hreeloita S, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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