THAT Zimbabwe will soon benefit from cheap chemotherapy drugs sourced from reputable pharmaceutical companies represents a ray of hope to many citizens battling with cancer countrywide.
We believe this is a timely intervention which could save many lives especially as the nation’s health sector is in near comatose due to years of underfunding and neglect by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF regime.
It is inconceivable that the majority of the people suffering from various kinds of cancers have fought a losing battle, with many succumbing to the disease because they could not afford the treatment.
With quality health care and services increasingly priced out of the reach of the majority poor, such initiatives are important as they ensure that one’s financial means, or lack thereof, should not determine the quality of health services they can access.
Zimbabwe stands to benefit from the initiative through which it was invited to be part of other countries involved in the development and adaptation of National Comprehensive Cancer Network-African Guidelines. Our hope is that in the long term, the same resources and energy we have seen over the years in the fight against HIV and Aids will also be transferred to the fight against cancer.
Many cancer patients have fought lone battles until they succumbed to the disease. Our hope is that the latest initiative will go a long way in ensuring that there is a change in the way cancer, which has become more devastating than HIV, is handled.
Chemotherapy has proved to be not only gruelling for many, but expensive, too, and this programme could not have come at a more opportune time.
It will also feed into current efforts by the country to develop national guidelines to encompass all aspects of the management of cancer as part of the implementation of the National Cancer Strategy.
The fact that some funds have been channelled from the Aids Levy and invested in life-saving radiography equipment and cancer drugs implies that with the latest developments, in the next few years, the ravages of cancer could be contained as there would be more early detections and treatment.
Over the years, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and Kaposi’s sarcoma (skin cancer) have accounted for the greatest number of cancer-related deaths, but now there is hope that these malignant conditions could soon be successfully contained.
We, however, urge the authorities to desist from corruption and abusing the funds which they could assume are free funds, yet they should benefit the people.
It is high time Mugabe upped the fight against corruption in the top echelons of the Zanu PF regime so that even little resources could trickle down to the people who desperately need essential services.