Childhood cancer haunts Zimbabwe

By Abigirl Tembo

AS the world commemorates International Childhood Cancer Day, stakeholders have amplified calls for more awareness campaigns to prevent fatalities among children.

In that regard, early detection and access to quality care have been cited as critical in the country’s fight against childhood cancer.

In a speech read on his behalf to mark the day by Director Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Wenceslas Nyamayaro, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro indicated that the government has stepped up efforts to raise awareness on childhood cancers.

“The Childhood Cancer Initiative and the Zimbabwe National Cancer Control Plan aim to ensure the availability of drugs as and when required.

“They review the referral pathways, assess hospitals’ capacities to do the necessary diagnostics as well as integration of childhood cancer into national strategies.

“This initiative will work towards improving the survival rate of children with cancer from the current 20% to 60% in developing countries by the year 2030,” he said.

Kidzcan Executive Director Daniel Mckenzie called for more awareness campaigns on childhood cancer.

“Children deserve the right to fight cancer. We are saying that if detected early, children can survive cancer. It is also time we stopped treating cancer, but curing it,” said Mckenzie.

Some of the childhood cancers widespread in Zimbabwe include retinablastoma, leukaemia and neuroblastoma, among others.