'Declare cancer a national emergency'

HARARE - The exorbitant cancer treatment fees have become a serious cause of concern among the ordinary Zimbabweans.

Cancer kills more people globally than tuberculosis, HIV and malaria combined, and the number is growing quickly, adding to the disease burden of non-communicable diseases.

According to the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe, each year, over 12,7 million people receive cancer diagnosis and 7,6 million die from the disease worldwide.

The Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry statistics reveal that the total number of cancer cases recorded among Zimbabweans in 2009 was 3 519 comprising 1 427 (40,6%) males and 2 092 (59,4%) females.

However, despite the fact that cancer is now a National Emergency, cancer treatment costs have remained beyond the reach of the majority of ordinary Zimbabweans who cannot afford the exorbitant fees.

The shocking exorbitant cost of cancer treatment for an ordinary Zimbabwean in public hospitals (Parirenyatwa or Mpilo)

This table illustrates an approximate cancer treatment budget of $8 190 per patient at a public health institution in Zimbabwe.

From the cost breakdown above, where on earth can a civil servant earning $250 a month afford to pay these exorbitant fees?

*Thokozani Khupe is a breast cancer survivor, Member of Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister in the Inclusive Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and President of the Global Partnership of Women Elected and Appointed Representatives (GlobalPOWER)

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