Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government is fully committed to treating cancer, including child cancer, through various efforts to ensure that patients receive the best possible treatment, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said.

One of the efforts to handle cancer in Indonesia is by strengthening early detection activities at community health centers (puskesmas), he remarked.

"Starting this year, we will equip all puskesmas with devices to check blood for leukemia and lymphoma early detection to be immediately referred to the hospital," he noted in a statement from his office on Thursday.

Health devices, namely hematology analyzers and blood chemical analyzers for detecting leukemia and lymphoma, as well as ophthalmoscopes for detecting eye cancer (retinoblastoma), will be sent to 10 thousand puskesmas throughout Indonesia, he added.

He also stated that the government plans to educate medical personnel regarding the early detection of cancer.

For the first step, the government will gradually provide chemotherapy facilities in 514 districts and provinces. In this way, cancer patients in remote areas or far from city centers can still receive cancer services quickly.

Second, the government is also increasing cancer therapy options for children. As of 2024, the Dharmais Cancer Hospital will carry out bone marrow transplants in children. If this method is successful, it will be implemented in other hospitals, Sadikin remarked.

Starting this year, the hospital will also carry out Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR T-cell) therapy to treat blood cancer in children. This is a form of immunological therapy that involves the genetic modification of T cells to increase their ability to recognize and fight cancer cells.

On February 28, Sadikin visited the "Rumah Kita" housing owned by the Indonesian Cancer Children Foundation (YKAKI) in Jakarta to learn about the most common types of cancer and their current conditions.

"Mostly lymphoma and leukemia, and many are identified too late," he stated.

On that occasion, he ensured that the facilities available at the housing were in good condition.

Sadikin emphasized that various efforts made by the government required support and assistance from several parties, including YKAKI.

He thanked the foundation for helping the government provide temporary housing facilities for patients undergoing cancer treatment in hospitals and their caretakers.

Sadikin stated that in the future, the government will seek donors for shelter homes like "Rumah Kita" for their optimal operation.

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Translator: Mecca Yumna NP, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Anton Santoso
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