On June 27th, oncology patients protested in the streets of La Paz to demand improvements in the treatments against cancer in Bolivian public health.This generated reactions in the political class. The Minister of Health, Rodolfo Rocabado, assured that the government will have among its priorities the fight against cancer. Furthermore, two bills that seek to ensure free coverage for all cancer patients in the country, with an emphasis on drug`s access, were introduced to the Chamber of Deputies. The Congress could turn them into laws in the coming months.
The bill introduced by Nora Quisbert (Movimiento al Socialismo-ruling party) stands out among the bills that will begin to be debated in the coming weeks. This bill proposes to create the Anti-Cancer Fund. It will be constituted with contributions from the private and public sector, and it will seek to ensure free provision of drugs and treatments to cancer patients. Given the support of the ruling party, which is a majority in both chambers, the bill could be passed in the short term. The Executive branch’s support is crucial for this initiative to move on.
On the other hand, the deputy Amilcar Barral (Unidad Democrática-opposition) presented a bill to guarantee the free treatment of oncological patients. It creates the National Cancer Network, which will depend of the Health Ministry, and must ensure the distribution and availability of drugs for all cancer patients in the country. Being an initiative of an opposition party, its progress can be slowed by the ruling party, however it is not ruled out that it will be debated in the coming months.