Official Feedback Letter to Hon. Minister Chris Fearne
The Malta Association of Public Health Medicine welcomes the publication of the second National Cancer Plan 2017-2021. This plan continues to build on the actions and initiatives laid out in the first plan whilst setting the scene for the outstanding and new challenges that need to be addressed. It is laudable that continuity in health policy is achieved since it is only in this manner that long-term improvements can be guaranteed.
The MAPHM congratulates the Ministry for Health on the professional approach taken to document the progress that has been achieved whilst setting out the areas that need further action and attention in the coming years.
MAPHM wishes to see more emphasis being given to tackle tobacco smoking in women since smoking trends in females are on the rise in certain age groups. The link between excessive alcohol consumption and certain cancers also needs to be addressed. MAPHM would like to see a greater emphasis placed on environmental health issues in the coming years.
MAPHM is pleased to note that efforts have been made to continue to roll out screening services. The next challenge is to reach out to non-attenders.
In the area of medicines, MAPHM believes that patients with cancer should not have to rely on charity to meet their needs. In this respect, the intention to ensure that cancer medicines will be available through the public health system is welcomed.
The MAPHM strongly welcomes the setting up of a Cancer Research Foundation. Public health and health systems research need to be part of the portfolio of research activities that will be carried out with the support of this Foundation in order to ensure that there is an emphasis on prevention, early diagnosis and the whole system architecture which is of paramount importance in ensuring successful outcomes.
Finally, MAPHM sincerely hopes that following the consultation process, the publication of the final document will include specific targets since it is only in this manner that government and societal stakeholders can really work towards ensuring that the necessary improvements are achieved.