The five-year national plan for cancer control drawn up collaboratively by Health Ministry, World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Protection Agency (HPA) has been launched on Thursday.
It was launched during a special ceremony held at Health Ministry on Thursday by Health Minister Ahmed Naseem and WHO’s representative to the Maldives Dr. Nazneen Anwar.
The plan, which will be in effect till 2026, is aimed at achieving the prevention of cancer through the promotion of healthy lifestyles, early diagnosis and treatment, and access to affordable treatments and medication for cancer.
It is also aimed at providing psycho-social support for cancer patients, establishing a national registry for cancer, and conducting cancer research in the Maldives.
Health Ministry estimates that working towards these goals would decrease the rates of non-communicable diseases in the Maldives by 25 percent by 2030.
Speaking at the ceremony, Health Minister Naseem attributed the increase in non-communicable diseases in the Maldives to unhealthy lifestyles engrained within Maldivians. Therewith, he urged the public to practice healthier lifestyles.
“The results of the STEPs survey of 2020 and 2021 show that many unhealthy habits which lead to cancer are engrained within our society, In this regard, there is an increased number of people who consume unhealthy foods and drinks, smokers in comparison to the number of active people,” he said.
Minister Naseem also revealed that discussions were underway to conduct cancer research in the Maldives, in identifying the severity of the disease, under the guidance and expertise of WHO.