THE World Health Organisation (WHO) says cancer has become a leading cause of death among children, with majority of the cases not being diagnosed.
In a speech read on his behalf during Childhood Cancer Day commemorations in Harare early this week, WHO acting country representative Jean Marie–Dangou said: “The International Childhood Cancer Day calls to attention the importance of community participation and support in the fight against childhood cancer in every country around the world.”
He added that each year an estimated 400 000 children globally develop cancer, and only 200 000 are diagnosed, making it a leading cause of death among children.
“Survival from childhood cancer in Africa is estimated to be 12%, compared to over 80% survival rate in North America and parts of Europe. This represents one of the largest inequities in global health. Yet, most childhood cancers can be cured with generic medicines and other forms of treatment, including surgery and radiotherapy.”
The WHO boss urged government to finalise the national cancer control plan and childhood cancer treatment guidelines to increase chances of survival of children with cancer.
Health specialist Inam Chitsike said 40% children do not finish cancer treatment due to transport issues.
Chitsike applauded Kidzcan, a child cancer awareness organisation in the country, for funding completion of the Rainbow Children’s Village in the capital.
“About 40% of children do not finish treatment due to lack of transport to and from hospital. Imagine those in Binga who cannot afford to travel every two weeks for the child’s check-up.
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“Let the children survive and not only survive, but to thrive and live a healthy wonderful life,” Chitsike said.
Meanwhile, Premier Auto Services donated 30 food hampers to children suffering from cancer at Rainbow Children’s Village.