ZIMBABWE’S Health and Child Care Ministry is closeto completing latest national cancer treatment (oncology) guidelines at primary care levels with publishing expected this year.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
In an interview with University of Zimbabwe head of radiotherapy and oncology Dr Ntokozo Ndlovu involved in the review of the guidelines last done in 1992, she said work started and is expected to be completed this year.
In terms of where we are in the stage of development in this stage of guidelines, we are almost there. Most of the chapters have been submitted and edited. What is now left really is final editing taking into account the formatting and then the guidelines will be sent back to the larger stake holding.
“So the original contributors all of them who come from all specialties and sub specialties will then have a chance to make a final contribution. Once that happens we should be able to publish,” she said.
She said oncology guidelines for the Zimbabwean scenario are important for they speak to what the country has.
“The importance of oncology guidelines which are specific for Zimbabwe is that they talk to what we have and what we can do and utilising what is available optimally for best patient outcomes whilst we are sticking to what is known internationally. So we are not deviating and formulating our own stuff but we are using the backbone of tried and tested guidelines elsewhere in treatment of cancer to make sure that we can actually utilise what we have to the maximum,” she said.
Meanwhile challenges hampering the fight against cancers in Zimbabwe accessibility of oncology centres with the country having only two radiotherapy centres, according to Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo.
“There are only two centres in Zimbabwe that offer treatment of cancer; one here is in Harare at Parirenyatwa Hospital and the other one is in Mpilo Hospital. This has made it people for some people living in remote areas to access healthcare centres for early treatment, hence the need to increase capacity through mobilisation of resources and prioritisation in awareness, early detection and treatment of cancer,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s radiotherapy experts in 2017 engaged the International Atomic Energy Agency to hit the ground running on coming up with national clinical radiotherapy guidelines as part of the National Strategy on Cancer