Latvia declares cancer care 'national priority'

The Ministry of Health (VM) and Health Minister Hosams Abu Meri (New Unity) have declared oncological care as a national priority as they begin work on a new plan to improve health services in the field of oncology for 2025-2027, the Ministry said on April 30.

The Ministry is launching a new policy planning initiative, implementing three-level activities that combine political, civil, and public activities, the results of which shall be included in the oncological care plan for 2025-2027.

The first activity is in high political level support for oncology as a national priority in healthcare.  The second activity is to involve the best expertise at the civil service level in planning a new and ambitious oncological care plan: expert workshops in the fields of patient satisfaction, child oncology, screening, specific prevention, diagnostics, medical quality, service and drug availability, health data and oncological disease registry. 

The third activity is informing the public, changing the stereotype of cancer as a deadly disease – involving higher education institutions and media representatives of Latvia as partners.

It is planned to discuss this more widely on May 2.

Mortality from oncological diseases is the second cause of death in Latvia.  Too late detection of the disease makes treatment significantly more expensive and reduces chances of survival, VM noted.

Oncology is the first area (even before Covid-19 infection) that the European Commission has declared a problem at the European level, departing from the notion that healthcare is a national competence.

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