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Renovation of Bashir Hospital oncology department ‘to lead the way for better public services for cancer patients’

By Suzanna Goussous - Aug 09,2018 - Last updated at Aug 09,2018

AMMAN — The department of oncology at Al Bashir Hospital is scheduled to be renovated under the “Himmetna” campaign, to achieve better quality services for all cancer patients.

Combining the efforts of the Higher National Committee for Supporting Cancer Patients and the Friends of Cancer Patients Association, the campaign, which consists of 20 organisations, aims to support cancer patients in demanding their full rights, stakeholders said.

Fadia Samara, secretary general of the patient protection coalition, said the idea of the campaign came when the former government announced cutting exemptions and financial coverage for cancer patients earlier this year, a move denounced by many organisations and activists at the time. 

In June, however, newly appointed Prime Minister Omar Razzaz announced that the government would issue cards for cancer patients to support them and ease their referral for medical treatment to the King Hussein Cancer Centre or any public hospital.

“The campaign will guarantee the right to a medical treatment under suitable conditions at the hospital, the privacy of the patient and of their psychological state,” Samara said during the launch of the campaign at Al Ruwwad Al Kibar Forum on Wednesday.

“We will work hand-in-hand to ensure every patient has the right to receive treatment under a humane system that ensures their dignity, justice, and right to fully recover, including the most recent inventions and medical services,” she continued.

Samara noted that the campaign will join efforts with the government to improve the public health sector. “It’s about time we change the perspective of cancer patients and cancer diseases. We would be fooling the public by telling them there is no cure to cancer,” she stated.

 “Al Bashir Hospital will be our first but not last stop. The journey does not end here,” the secretary general stressed.

For his part, Musa Ryashat, president of Friends of Cancer Patients Association, said the campaign will ensure equal rights to cancer patients from all walks of life and social classes.

“It’s true that cancer fighters might have different daily rituals; however, their lives would be made easier and we will start with Al Bashir to reform and reshape the health services in the public sector,” Ryashat added.

Government Coordinator for Human Rights Basel Tarawneh expressed the government’s support to the campaign, stressing the importance of prioritising the patients’ cases and reforming the health sector.

“It is the government’s duty to support and ensure sustainability of such humanitarian projects and campaigns, which we are in dire need of,” Tarawneh said.

Engineer Areej Khatib, who is in charge of the interior design of the oncology department at Al Bashir Hospital, said the campaign will revamp all the oncology department facilities to meet the international  standards for cancer patients.

The department used to have worn-out furniture, walls and radiators, and toilet facilities in spacious rooms in poor conditions, she said, stressing the need to revamp the department to provide patients with better psychological support.

“As civil society organisations, we have to educate people and guide them, to adapt and safeguard public possessions after the renovation,” the engineer added.

Under the renovation plan, the department will consist of 12 rooms instead of six, with each room accommodating two patients instead of four, with a shared bathroom. A waiting room with a reception desk and a play area for children will also be constructed to ensure a better environment for the patients and their families.

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