Refugees being denied cancer care due to funding

By Amanda Stewart,

Due to lack of funds, aid workers are being forced to deny Syria war victims and refugees with cancer any type of care.

According to the AFP, medical systems are being overwhelmed there and receiving refugees fleeing the Syrian War for three years. Before that, they dealt with Iraqi refugees for decades. They lack the funds to be able to provide cancer treatment.

The BBC reports that infectious disease has obviously been the focus in the refugee camps, but cancer is also a major issue among refugees.

“We can treat everyone with measles, but we can’t treat everyone with cancer,” said Paul Spiegel, the medical chief of UNHCF.

Because of this, doctors and other medical staff have to make decisions on who gets treatment and who will not.

“We have to turn away cancer patients with poor prognoses because caring for them is too expensive,” said Spiegel. Spiegel called for urgent steps to tackle this situation. Hundreds of refugees are being turned away.

A quarter of the cases that come through UNHCF are cancer, mostly breast and colorectal cancer. Half of these people had to be turned away for care.

“The countries in the Middle East have welcomed millions of refugees, first from Iraq then Syria," Spiegel said. "The burden has fallen disproportionately on the host countries to absorb the costs.”



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