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Govt loses over M3.5 billion fighting cancer

The Minister of Tourism Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane

Nov. 12, 2020 2 min read

2 min read

MASERU – The government has lost more than M3.5 billion in the treatment of cancer patients over the past seven years. Per annum, the government loses more than M500 million to treat such patients.

The Minister of Tourism Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane said in 2012, a total of 2 771 cancer patients were taken for treatment in South Africa. The cost of treating one patient, the minister told parliament on Monday that is estimated at around USD 13, 000 (M208 000).

The figure suggests that it costs more than M576 million per year to treat at least 2 771 patients. The figures further mean that from 2012 until 2019, the government had been forced to part ways with more than M576 million each year, translating to nothing less than M3.5 billion over the past seven years to treat cancer patients.

The numbers could be even much higher with research, according to the minister, showing that the number of patients keeps rising by more than 1 500 each year. To overcome this fiscal challenge, parliament on Monday approved the enactment of the Radiation Protection Agency bill of 2018 into law.

This was after it was given the go-ahead by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), following a long period of assistance.

The IAEA is the world’s center for cooperation in the nuclear field, promoting the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear technology while inhibiting any use for any military purpose including nuclear weapons.

“The purpose of the government through this undertaking is to grow the economy, take care of the environment as well as fight cancer and other similar diseases. “The introduction of this law means the country will be able to save more money as we will no longer be forced to take patients to South Africa and other countries for treatment, where the cost of treatment is ridiculously high,” Adv Rakuoane said.

Going forward, he said the government will now establish the Radiation Protection Agency that will ensure that no one goes out of the country for treatment. The equipment towards the establishment of the Radiation Protection Agency has already been bought through the assistance of IAEA.

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The equipment has cost the government EURO 77 271.20 (M1 468 152). “We are still waiting for more equipment to arrive in the country with the support of IAEA. With the law in place, IAEA has promised even more assistance to ensure that we are successful through this initiative,” Adv Rakuoane added.

The government will further establish the Radiation Protection Board of Directors that will be mandated to oversee that everything is in place regarding the Radiation Act.

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