Harare – Government is working towards providing affordable cancer treatment as such treatment is beyond the reach of many, an official has said.
Addressing journalists on the sidelines of the think pink conference, Health and Child Care deputy minister Dr John Mangwiro said his ministry was ensuring that availability of cancer drugs improve.
“We are also making an effort to make sure that drugs for treating cancer are available and that they are affordable to the general public, we are in the process of working out that.
“We want to work with a system where people get drugs at a cheaper rate and to make sure that drugs are available to everyone and constantly from the primary clinics, hospitals to tertiary institutions so this involves making sure that drugs are accessed directly from where they are accessed, funds are available for the provision of drugs and making sure that these drugs are distributed equitably and timelessly,” he said.
Dr Mangwiro said his ministry was also going to increase cancer awareness programmes.
“The government is making sure that cancer management awareness is upped. People do not come straight for treatment in hospitals, they go to other sections of our society be it religious, traditional healers.
“ We are also making an effort to engage these sectors as well .We are aware of the shortcomings but efforts are being made, awareness should be our primary aim to make sure people know that there is cancer,” he added.
He said government was also trying to make sure radiation therapy for certain cancers was available.
“We also want to make sure that besides chemotherapy, we are also trying to make sure that the radiation therapy for certain cancers where we think they are too advanced or they need that particular radiation therapy is also available,”.
The minister went on to promise that government will train more therapists so as to decentralise cancer treatment owing to the fact that radiation therapy centres are not located across the country.
“We are not all over the country but we are working very hard to make sure that in the future people can access these cancer treatment modalities most probably next to their locality, it is not going to be an overnight thing but we are working in progress to make sure that cancer treatment is available, cheap, near to the people,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Talk Cancer Zimbabwe founder Michell Madzudzo said cancer patients need not less than $1000 dollars to get treatment in Zimbabwe.
“An advanced cancer patient needs not less than a thousand dollars for treatment, people are misinformed about cancer and that is the reason for late treatment.”
“We are appealing to the government for subsidies for cancer patients because cancer medicine and treatment is very expensive,” she said.