President Hugo Chavez has approved the creation of the National Institute for Cancer.
The Institute will work as a research and teaching centre, where policies are also designed and statistics are produced in order to co-ordinate the network of hospitals and medical services specialized in oncology.
Chavez was diagnosed with cancer last June in Cuba where he had an emergency operation to extract a tumor. Since then, he has undergone two chemotherapy sessions in La Havana, and a third one last week at a military hospital in Caracas. Although Chavez has said that he might get a fourth session he has assured the treatment is preventive as there are no malignant cells in his body.
For some, the creation of the Institute for Cancer has been only possible because Chavez himself is suffering from the disease. But others are keen to convey that it is part of the government’s policies on health which have guaranteed free attention for cancer patients that even includes provision of medicines.
Besides the creation of the Institute, Chavez has set as mandatory to report the cases of cancer and record and broadcast statistics, as well as design graduate studies and technical courses in radiotherapy and masters on medical physics.
Other government’s plans for the health sector include the construction of 17 new hospitals and 2 drug factories. These are expected to offer a high quality alternative to the heavily criticized unaffordable private medicine services.