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    Moroccan Health Minister Rules Out Free Treatment for Cancer Patients

    The statement comes after a viral campaign, asking the government to provide cancer patients with free treatment.

    22 Jan 2020

    Rabat – Moroccan Minister of Health Khaled Ait Al Taleb announced patients with cancer need universal health coverage rather than access to free treatment.

    The minister announced the news on Monday, January 20, at the House of Representatives during a question session at the Moroccan parliament.

    The official added that patients struggle to meet the cost of medicines, which should be included in health coverage.

    The health minister finds that it is necessary to determine what sort of “free treatment” patients require, whether it is access free medicine, blood tests, radiology, or surgery.

    A 2018 report from the High Commissioner Planning (HCP), quoting data from 2018, stipulated that only 47 % of Moroccans have healthcare coverage.

    Women are slightly more likely (47.6%) to be covered by healthcare insurance than men (45.5%).

    “The solution is not free treatment. We need an alternative for medicines that are not covered by health insurance,” said the minister.

    The statement comes amid a viral campaign, calling on Morocco’s government to provide free treatment to patients with cancer.

    Morocco’s Ministry of Health estimated that 40,000 Moroccans are diagnosed with cancer each annually.

    Cancer patients launched a campaign on social media to share their struggles about health issues and the expensive cost of cancer treatment in the country.

    Some patients shared videos to speak about their experiences.

    The campaign received support from thousands of Moroccans, and activists.

    The leader of the “we don’t want to die of cancer” campaign died on January 4.

    “One of the warriors, Rajaa, has died. She was the reason why we launched the ‘Mabghinach nmouto bsaratan’ campaign… She died because she didn’t get medication. Officials are the ones to blame for her suffering and the suffering of thousands more,” says a statement of her death announcement.

    Academics and activists addressed a petition to the government, asking it to create a “Cancer Control Fund,” through an amendment to the 2020 Finance Bill.

    Moroccan academic Omar Cherkaoui launched the petition, seeking the collaboration of all Moroccans to help collect signatures to back the proposal.

    In response to the recent statement from the minister of health, Cherkaoui said patients need both free treatment and universal health coverage. The Ministry of Health received praise recently for its initiative to provide children under five with access to free treatment for cancer, however, activists feel that this is not enough.


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