Tuesday, 02 October 2012, 11:52 GMT
Record high cancer cases in Garmiyan

A radiologist is examining X-Ray image of a patient with breast cancer at the Media Diagnostics Center in Erbil, September 9, 2009./GLOBE PHOTO/Safin Hamid

The Kurdish Globe
By Salih Waladbagi

Around 1000 cases of cancer have been recorded

Figures from Garmiyan Directorate of Health show that around 1000 cases of different kinds of cancer in Garmiyan and Khanaqin have been registered in the past three years.

According to the figures many of the cases so far registered are breast, stomach, prostate and blood cancer.

Those cases which are recorded in Garmiyan hospitals so far are inhabitants of Kalar, Khanaqin and several other towns. After registration process, all the patients have been sent to Hiwa hospital in Sulaimaniyah province in order to take treatment.

Azmar Mohammed, former head of chronic diseases in the directorate, announced that most of the registered cases are classified under breast cancer category.

Concerning reasons behind breast cancer, Dr. Payman Ahmed who is a sonar expert says that diagnosing reasons why someone gets infected with breast cancer is not known yet.

She furthermore said that sometimes those women who are getting older and do not get married or those who do not breast feed their children are endangered to get the disease.

"Breast cancer is mostly among young women rather than older ones," she said.

Recording thousands of cases of cancer in Garmiyan is a very shaking number if it will be compared with number of inhabitants which is estimated around 300, 000.

People are frustrated and say that urgent research is needed in order to come up with finding a way to prevent this number increasing.

Mohammed confirmed that the factors should be recognized as soon as possible in order to save lives of thousands more.

Dr Adnan Tofiq said that statistics of cancer are very rapidly increasing in the Region and have hit a new record high.

Indeed, most of those who are infected with cancer in Garmiyan are poor people. Besides, they should endure the expected pain of the cancer while they have to take economic condition of the family into consideration too.

Tofiq said that there is a committee in the directorate to give a hand to the patients financially, adding that the directorate gives each of them $1000 only once.

Poor and low-income families who have one-cancer-case identified at their home usually visit governmental institutions and ask for financial cooperation to treat their diseases.

"Many people visit us on a daily basis and ask for financial help while it is not our duty to give people money," said Khabat Rashid, Garmiyan's director of Human Rights.

He remarked that there are several charity organizations and institutions which have some special programs to help poor people.

However, many medical experts think there is no a medical research center to conduct a survey and figure out how many people have cancer and what are the main reasons behind cancer-cases.

Fund for chronic diseases

It is supposed that the KRG make a financial assistance fund for chronic diseases such as cancer and long-term diseases with the intention of treating them inside Kurdistan or abroad.

A member of Kurdistan parliament said that two years ago a group of MPs proposed a draft to Kurdistan Parliament Presidency in order to allot a financial assistance fund to long-term diseases and cancer.
Legal committee of Kurdistan parliament met with advisers and directors of the Ministry of Health with the intention of discussing a mechanism to fund long-term diseases last week.

"If parliament can finish Forest Law this week then MPs will talk about chronic-assistance-fund draft. During the discussions MPs have to talk about amount of the money which is supposed to be indicated and the KRG has to allocate it later," said the MP who wanted to speak anonymously.

According to the draft, a council will be formed so as to manage the financial assistance fund's affairs.

The draft consists of 15 divisions and there is a division read that Ministry of Health is the main party which will allocate money to treat the patients in or out of Kurdistan.

Based upon the draft, financial sources of the financial assistance fundinclude 9 divisions.

"The KRG has to allocate five percent of interests gain from customs. The ministry also should allot some amount of money from its annual budget to the financial assistance fund too," read the draft.

"Five percent of interest from importing goods like cigarette, alcohol, automobile and machines and 50 percent of fines from prohibiting smoking in public places which comes to annual budget of the KRG," read the draft.

However the draft read that 50 percent of fines gained by environment law and 50 percent of fines from health-care law should be allocated for the financial assistance fund.

Besides, 50 percent of penalties gained from punishing those traders who bring in expired foods also has to be allocated for chronic diseases.