CANSA backs health minister over vaccines

Aaron Motsoaledi is urging medical aids to cover vaccines which prevent cervical cancer in women.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) has backed Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi in urging medical aid schemes to cover vaccines which prevent cervical cancer in women.

The minister announced earlier this week vaccinations will start from February next year. Pupils aged nine and 10 who are not yet sexually active will benefit.

CANSA's Sue Janse van Rensburg said medical aid schemes should also play a part in cancer prevention.

"We want to make a call to all medical aids - they should help, promote and think of prevention strategies rather than paying for these vaccines."

Minister makes a call

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Wednesday giving young girls a vaccine against cervical cancer will save lives.

He announced that pupils will be given the vaccine as part of the Schools Health Programme.

"Our next target is cancer of the cervix of the uterus, one of the biggest killers of women in our country."

The government aims to provide the vaccine to more than half a million learners from early next year.

Motsoaledi wants medical aids to come to the party.

"I am calling on all medical schemes in the country to pay for these vaccines to help parents with this category of learners because this will benefit the cause."

Treating a cervical patient can cost up to a R100,000.

Meanwhile, last year advocacy group Campaigning for Cancer claimed that at least 100 patients in Gauteng had been denied treatment as a result of the province's poor healthcare system.

State hospitals made headlines several times last year for having broken equipment and shortage of medication, causing cancer patients to suffer.