'Cancer, HIV treatments should be integrated'

HARARE - Cancer and HIV treatment interventions should be integrated to provide broader health prevention and management services for the two diseases, Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera has said.

“There is need to integrate cancer services with HIV and Aids and all non-communicable diseases with particular emphasis on cancer prevention and control services to maximise on available resources and minimise duplication of efforts particularly keeping in mind that most of the cancers we see today may also have some relationship with HIV,”

Madzorera said at the launch of the Thokozani Khupe Cancer Foundation.

Statistics released by the Zimbabwe Cancer Registry (ZCR) show that at least 60 percent of new cancer cases in the country are HIV-related.

Significant resources, according to Madzorera, from government and the donor community have been compromised as the two were providing parallel services in curbing the diseases.

He emphasised the need to have more political figures joining the fight against cancer.

“Leaders peddle hope. What the honourable Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe is doing is peddling hope. We need more people like madam Khupe to champion the cause,” he said.

Many public figures have been accused of failing to provide moral support to initiatives meant to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, particularly HIV.

Madzorera lamented confinement of radiotherapy treatment services to Mpilo and Parirenyatwa hospitals and the obsolete equipment the hospitals have been relying on.

“For those who do not know, Zimbabwe used to be the centre for cancer treatment. People used to fly to Harare from Zambia, Malawi and the entire region for cancer treatment. Some of us look back wishing those years could come back but if we put our hands they will come back,” he said.

He, however, commended government for availing some funds for the rehabilitation of Mpilo and Parirenyatwa hospitals’ cancer wings.

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