'Govt must prioritise cancer fight'

HARARE - Government is not giving priority to preventing cancers in children, a cancer specialist has said.

A local medical doctor, Inam Chitsike said the low prioritisation in fighting the preventable diseases was causing serious child mortality in under-five-year-olds.

Chitsike said the ministry of Health and Child Welfare was not doing enough as it has no funds set aside to fight cancer in children.  

He however, said the disease is highly curable in children up to 14 years.  

“There is need for awareness because although mortality rate is low, there are children dying. So awareness will lead to the initiation of early detection of cancer, helping reduce the cancer in children,” she said.

She said treating cancer will help reduce mortality in children dying from HIV-related cancers. A cancer patient Enhance Hungwe, who was diagnosed with cancer as a child when he was 10 years old, said parents have to act quickly to avoid loss of life.

“I felt a pain in my abdomen and I told my mother who acted immediately,” Hungwe said. “After certain tests we were told that I have cancer and had to go for treatment because it had been detected early. If my dear mother had not acted quickly I would have been history right now.”

He said to raise awareness he works with cancer specialists to educate, inform and give hope to families with children diagnosed with cancer.

Meanwhile, Chitsike said malaria also causes a particular cancer in children, but over 80 percent of cancer in children is incurable because of lack of awareness.

Over eight percent of under-fives in Zimbabwe die from cancer.

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