The ministry launched the initiative a few weeks after some patients with cancer started a social media campaign to complain about the high cost of cancer treatment in Morocco.
The ministry made its announcement today, December 26, in a statement published on its official website.
“The initiative comes within the framework of the royal instructions,” the statement said.
It is also in line with the recommendation suggested during the 16th National Congress of the Rights of the Child held on November 20-23 in Marrakech
During the conference, government officials vowed to make challenges facing Moroccan children a “national priority.”
The ministry said it has decided to provide free treatment to children under five years old, who do not have health coverage under the “basic compulsory [health] insurance.”
The ministry, according to the statement, also urged institutions of the national health system, especially hospitals, to “take the necessary and appropriate measures to facilitate free access to preventive and curative [healthcare] for children under 5-years olds.”
The initiative comes after the patients of cancer 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 urged some activists to address 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.
Statistics shared by the ministry in 2017 indicated that 40,000 Moroccans are diagnosed with cancer each year.
Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer among men in Morocco, representing 22% of all cases. Prostate cancer represents 12.6% and colorectal cancer accounts for 7.9 %.
Breast cancer accounts for 36% of all cancer diagnoses among Moroccan women. Cervical cancer accounts for 11.2%, while thyroid cancer accounts for 8.6%. Colorectal cancer represents 5.9%.