#BREAKING: Cancer To Be Funded Separately

GOVERNMENT is in the process of setting up stand alone funding for Cancer in a bid to intensify efforts to combat the scourge of caner related Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) which have resulted in loss of lives.

By Michael Gwarisa
According to statistics, at least 7 000 new cases of cancer are recorded every year in Zimbabwe, resulting in 1 500 deaths. Moreover, 60 percent of these cancers are associated with HIV.

Speaking to HealthTimes on the sidelines of the Universal Health Coverage  (UHC) Celebrations, Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Official in the Ministry of Health, Mr Gwati Gwati said  $250 million was needed to fight NCDs in Zimbabwe but the ministry was getting less than $200 million, hence the need to mobilse resources and fund cancer separately.

“There is now a move within the Ministry to fund cancer as a stand alone item, we are currently working on getting its funding and i would say all is in place. As much as they are numerous NCDs, the effects of cancer have been felt and many lives have been lost.

The National Aids Council (NAC) has been tasked to mobilse resources for this move. We have set up a National Health Financing policy within the ministry and i am glad to say the policy has been approved by cabinet and is to be launched together with the national health strategy Steps to UHC,” said Mr Gwati.

Mr Chigwanha from CWGH during the UHC Celebrations day

Previously Cancer has been getting funding through the Aids Levy which is administered by the National Aids Council where the money aims to fund opportunistic cancerous infections which affect people living with HIV.

Mr Gwati added that they have a budget as the ministry for the fund although the overall set-up is still ongoing.

“National Aids Council due to its experience with AIDS are better positioned to do the resource mobilisation. In this case we are not saying the AIDS levy wont be funding cancer anymore considering that most of these diseases are opportunistic infections which affect those living with HIV.

We have realised that if we ignore NCDs, the cost burden as a result of cancers by 2030 will be around $2 billion.”

It is estimated that US$260 000 was used to buy cancer equipment in 2016. Nearly one million people of the 1,4 million living with HIV in Zimbabwe are benefiting from Government’s anti-retroviral therapy programme. While not all cancers are related to HIV/Aids, the advent of the pandemic has seen a marked increase in cancer cases.

Some of the most common cancers diagnosed in people living with HIV include Kaposi sarcoma, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and cervical cancer.




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