The initiative makes Dubai authorities the first government entity in the world to provide a complete spectrum of care from screening to treatment for the three types of cancer (breast, colorectal and cervical cancer) under the essential benefit plan. Prior to the scheme, cancer coverage was limited to AED150,000. Now there are no sub-limits and coverage is unlimited. Under the initiative eligible patients are enrolled at Dubai Hospital and they receive treatment at the hospital.
In order to make the initiative work, all approved health insurance providers in Dubai asked policyholders to pay an additional amount of Dh 19 and Dh 18 for Cancer and Hepatitis C (HCV) treatment respectively. This sum for cancer is pooled into DHA’s trust account and helps cover the additional cost of these three types of cancer treatment when it crosses the Sum Insured of Dh 150,000 minimum, for Low Salary Band (LSB) workers.
If any LCB worker who has an EBP (essential benefit policy) is diagnosed with any of the three types of cancer under the BASMAH programme, the patient is referred to the Cancer Centre of Excellence in Dubai Hospital and is enrolled in the Cancer Patient support programme (Cancer PSP) if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Dr Moaza Al Bedwawi, General Surgeon at Dubai Hospital and Founder of Pink Ride Hope says, “This initiative is a blessing for patients and also for healthcare workers as we feel truly grateful to see patients with financial difficulties get complete treatment so that they can be cured and lead a healthy and happy life. However, the one message I strongly advocate, is to educate all community members about the importance of timely diagnosis. Despite all the awareness and initiatives such as the wonderful Basmah programme, we still find that women do not come forward in time. Even when they see symptoms, they often try to ignore it.
“With early diagnosis the chances of survival and minimum intervention greatly increase; we do not have to adopt aggressive therapies straight away. Even in case of surgery, early detection helps us plan the breast reconstruction and nipple preservation procedure in a much better manner.”
She said the Basmah initiative, patients have a tracking and follow-up system to ensure the whole treatment is smooth and streamlined.
In addition to the Basmah initiative, the Authority also has a Health Fund Department that coordinates with various charities and patients to help patients with financial difficulties get the treatment in time.