If the Armenian society is admired by the new government due to something, it must be the free treatment program for cancer patients. Free means state-funded. The Health Ministry said it is also considering making radiation therapy and chemotherapy free of charge – a move, that will require much greater financial resources.
Panorama.am addressed a letter to the Health Ministry: “Welcoming the minster’s statement that the state will cover the costs for oncological surgeries, we would like to know how many patients it will apply to annually, how much those operations cost, how much this initiative costs and what resources the Health Ministry will use to deal with the issue.”
The problem is there is a misunderstanding among the society that all the tumour surgeries will be free. It will more appropriate to explain all the details to patients in advance to spare them disappointment or misunderstanding.
Notably, no new law has been adopted, with the 4 March 2004 Decision No. 318 of the Armenian government in place. And the number of free surgeries have increased since the Health Ministry spending is set to rise by 700 million drams. Hence the increase in free operations in agreed with it.
Free surgeries are/will be performed at the medical institutions with which the Health Ministry has signed a contract.
In 2018, a total of 2,050 surgical treatments were carried out.
In a response letter to Panorama.am, the ministry says the state compensation for surgical treatment expenses and the co-payments are approved by the health minister. Before 2019, the average compensated sum by the state amounts to 118,800 drams.
And although “starting from 11 January 2019, oncological surgeries will be state funded”, the response letter says that in fact oncological and hemorrhagic treatment requires more funds then the Health Ministry’s increased budget can afford, hence “the problems will be solved step by step by priority.”
Thus, it still remains unclear when the time will come for bone marrow transplantations.