Sajith questions Health Minister on outdated cancer treatment equipment

Thursday, 5 October 2023 02:04 –      – 37

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Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa 

  • Claims outdated Cobalt-60 teletherapy machines are no longer used abroad 
  • Requests Govt. to purchase new and improved LINAC machines instead 
  • Accuses MoH officials of attempting to persist with use of Cobalt machines at Govt. hospitals

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa in parliament yesterday questioned the Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella on the continued use of outdated Cobalt-60 teletherapy machines for cancer treatment at Government hospitals in the country.

“These machines today are not even used for treatment of animals abroad. Instead, they use LINAC (Linear Accelerator) machines for treatment now,” he noted.

Premadasa highlighted that the country identifies at least 30,000 cancer patients annually who require radiotherapy treatment.

He disclosed that, at present, new equipment has only been provided to hospitals in Jaffna, Batticaloa, Kandy, and Karapitiya.

“It would cost a mere $ 2 million to equip hospitals in Badulla, Ratnapura, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, and Hambantota with these machines,” Premadasa said. However, he added that some Ministry of Health officials are attempting to persist with the use of Cobalt machines.

He disclosed that there are efforts to import more outdated equipment at half the cost of a LINAC machine but urged the Government to opt for the latter which is of better quality. Premadasa also highlighted that the Government is attempting to import a Panacea radiotherapy machine from India, despite the fact that it is no longer used by India either.