Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Health Ministry strengthens access to recovery services for cancer patients in Indonesia through the support of radiodiagnostic, nuclear medicine, and radiotherapy facilities.

"The ministry and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) collaborate to achieve the collective goal to improve cancer service access for Indonesian and global citizens," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin noted through a statement, Sunday.

Systemic surgery and therapy, radiotherapy, and nuclear medicine are important capital in cancer diagnostics and therapy.

According to Sadikin, Indonesia strives to mitigate cancer that has became one of the leading causes of death and the second-highest financial burden after heart disease.

Globocan's data in 2022 indicated that 396,914 patients were diagnosed with cancer in Indonesia, with cases of deaths reaching 234,511.

Radiotherapy services are only available in 17 provinces in Indonesia, while nuclear medicine service only exists in 10 provinces.

As part of the cancer-handling efforts, Sadikin and IAEA's Director General signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to collaborate in the Indonesian health transformation plan to expand radiodiagnostic, nuclear medicine, and radiotherapy services across Indonesia.

The IAEA will provide support to the Health Ministry in assessing the feasibility of expanding the capacity of nuclear medicine facilities in 34 provinces, including designing the network pattern for cyclotron installation.

The IAEA also facilitates capacity development in radiotherapy and nuclear medicine as well as technical aid to institutionalize quality assurance in every stage of radiotherapy and nuclear medicine expansion.

Indonesia and IAEA also explore resources to support the expansion of radiotherapy and nuclear medicine, including technical support related to equipment provision.

Meanwhile, required support from the ministry comprises information for the development of radiodiagnostic, nuclear medicine, and radiotherapy facilities' expansion plan in 34 provinces and facilitation of meeting with national stakeholders.

The LoI is a follow up of the virtual meeting on February 14, 2023, with a cooperation plan to strengthen health services in Indonesia, especially access to radiotherapy and nuclear medicine services.

On March 23-24, 2023, a technical visit was conducted by IAEA's expert mission team at five hospitals in Indonesia.

Moreover, a national workshop was held for formulation of the radiotherapy and nuclear medicine service access expansion plan.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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