Breast cancer has become Zimbabwe’s new health headache, and it is not alone, having teamed up with cervical cancer, becoming the poor country’s loathed twin evils in the health sector.
In Zimbabwe Cervical cancer accounts for more than a third of all cancers among women of African descent. Cancer knowledge levels, attitudes and practices of people in different sections of society should be assessed in order to guide current cancer interventions and knowledge of cancers in Africa.
You would realize that because of poverty and lack of knowledge many women are discovering too late that they have breast or cervical cancer; women are delaying to be screened for these cancers and that is why many are succumbing to the diseases.
This is the reason why we at Cancer Foundation under the banner Raising Hope, are carrying out awareness campaigns across the rural Zimbabwe is because information access is limited.
There is lack of awareness and comprehensive knowledge about Breast and Cervical cancer in Zimbabwe due to the economic challenges facing the people of Zimbabwe.
In addition, the cost of Cancer treatment is tormenting most cancer patients in Zimbabwe because of the economic situation. We as Cancer foundations are trying to engage the corporate world and donor organisations to come on board and help us in our cause to raise awareness particularly rural areas.
We are currently sourcing for funding to assist a 32 year old Zimbabwean women Tabeth Siwaya who was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago.
She needs urgent attention from qualified medical personnel but with the current health sector crisis in Zimbabwe she is not getting enough attention and she needs us to save her life. For her to get the proper health care she needs to seek medical attention outside Zimbabwe.
Cancer and Vaccination Programmes.
Though our government is rolling out programmes to vaccinate young girls against the human papillomavirus (HPV) we are still failing to reach the mostly the rural population, because of lack of educational programmes and lack of information dissemination.
Despite the programmes that are being done by our government the situation is still bad because of industrial action by doctors and other medical staff who are trying to push the government to increase their salaries or pay them in United States dollar.
This has worsened the situation for Cervical and Breast cancer and therefore we are trying to work with them while closely monitoring them with the support of qualified nurses who are giving their services for free.
On this programme, we are targeting mainly those in rural areas as they are the ones underprivileged worse with current economic challenges we are facing.
We are also in the process of carrying out nationwide programmes with the aim of educating women about breast and cervical cancer so that they have a clear picture of what is breast or cervical cancer.
We are looking for partners and well-wishers to help us with financial assistance as this will involve travelling a lot.
We are targeting women and young girls who are vulnerable to this deadly disease which has claimed a lot of lives countrywide.
We are also engaging the ministry of health and child care to work with us as well in this programme by providing free cancer screening.
According to information we gathered from the Ministry of health and child care, over 1500 women die every year due to cervical cancer while over 1000 deaths due to breast cancer.
There is the need for a concerted effort to try and help our women from this disease which is claiming a lot of women every year.
Sabastian Kanhema works as a producer/presenter for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation from 2003-2015. He is married with two kids.