KATHMANDU, Oct 6: Minister for Finance, Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat asserted that the government allocated a budget for the current fiscal year 2023/24 attaching a high priority to the health sector.
Inaugurating a one-day workshop organized by an organization named ‘People's Access to Adequate Natural Infrastructures’ here today, Finance Minister Mahat shared that the government would consider higher investment in the sector of health having the most affected demography.
Considering the resource constraints in the country's health sector, Finance Minister Mahat emphasized collaboration with the international community. He also called for optimization of the limited resources and delivery setting priorities.
The workshop was organized to deliberate on the promotion of HPV vaccination through public private partnership to eliminate cervical cancer in Nepal by 2030.
According to him, the budget allocation should be prioritized in the areas that give the highest returns. He pledged that the budget, from the next fiscal year, would be allocated by identifying our needs and finding out the areas of health, education and infrastructures that affect the populations the most.
Expressing his concern over the increasing cases of cervical cancer among women lately, the minister shared that the incumbent government was working towards the eradication of cervical cancer.
Arguing that the HPV vaccine would prevent the factor causing cervical cancer and thereby eliminating the possibility of the disease, he underscored the awareness drive on cervical cancer.
Minister Mahat said that the eradication of cervical cancer was among the top priorities of the incumbent government which would consider allocating the budget accordingly.
Similarly, oncologist Dr Arun Shahi, presenting a harrowing picture of cancer in women in Nepal, said that at least six cases of cervical cancer were reported on a daily basis in Nepal.
Dr Shahi underlined the administration of the HPV vaccine as a preventive measure. He opined that the government should incorporate the HPV vaccination drive in its annual program and administer the vaccine to teenagers of 9 to 15 years of age.
According to him, the HPV vaccine would not work for women above 26 years.
He said the HPV vaccine was 99 percent effective and pointed out the need to identify the women between 21 to 65 years who, according to him, are the most vulnerable group for cervical cancer.
Unsafe sex, excessive smoking and marriage at a young age are the factors increasing the risk for cervical cancer in women, according to Dr Shahi.