The Jakarta Post
The Tahir Foundation, along with Mayapada Hospital, launched on Monday a program offering free treatment to disadvantaged children under 12 years old with cancer.
The foundation's founder, Dato Sri Tahir, said that under the program, Mayapada Hospital would provide cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, transplantation and rehabilitation, to patients and accommodation to their families during treatment.
The healthcare services will be provided at the hospital's establishments in Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta, and Tangerang, Banten.
'Many children from disadvantaged backgrounds die from cancer as their families can't afford expensive medical treatment. The cost of a cancer-related transplantation is Rp 1 billion [US$86,726] to Rp 2 billion per person,' Tahir said at the launch of the program at Mayapada Hospital on Monday.
He said many child patients from Southeast-Asian countries, including Indonesia, sought medical treatment for cancer, particularly leukemia, at hospitals in Singapore. Unfortunately, some patients died not long after treatment began as they had sought treatment only after they were in an advanced stage of cancer due to a lack of money.
The Tahir Foundation is set to develop another Mayapada Hospital in Surabaya and is preparing the development of centers that will provide health treatment and entrepreneurial workshops for disabled persons in provinces across the country.
Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said she appreciated Tahir's initiative as the private sector could play a role in helping the government solve health problems, especially cancer as one of diseases with high-cost treatment.
She said cancer was a one of the tragic diseases was covered by the national health insurance (JKN) program.
However, the minister said, the allocated coverage for the disease was only Rp 200 million for one package of treatment sessions, forcing the government to focus on disease prevention and early detection.
Jakarta Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo said he would support any businesspeople who wanted to follow the Tahir Foundation's model of an effective charity and corporate social responsibility program.
'I'm sure many social problems in our country could be resolved if business tycoons were willing to donate some of their wealth [for charity programs]. However, it's not that easy because a big heart is needed to do such a thing,' he said.
Last year, the Tahir Foundation along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agreed to each donate $100 million for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and polio, as well as for family planning and other initiatives to reduce the country's infant mortality rate.
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