THE National AIDS Council (NAC) has this year partnered KidzCan, an organization that is dedicated to increasing survival chances of children with cancer in the 2021 NAC Professionals and Amateurs (Pro-AM) tournament which is aimed at raising resources to support anti-cancer initiatives.
By Patricia Mashiri
This year’s tournament will start with a professional golfers playing on the 20th to the 21st October, before playing against amateur golfers in the finals on the 22nd of October 2021.
Speaking during a press conference, Dr Bernard Madzima, NAC Chief Executive Officer said the increase in the number and occurrence of anti-cancer awareness and containment measures, childhood anti-cancer initiatives remain underfunded.
It is in this regard that NAC has decided to partner KIDZCAN to raise resources for their childhood cancer initiatives. The 2021 Pro-AM NAC Golf Tournament, which comes only a few weeks after the Ladies Golfers competition, seeks to raise USD 100,000 with USD52,000 meant for KIDZCAN to implement childhood anti-cancer initiatives. The prize money will be a whopping USD 50,000! I hope the golfers out there will feel motivated to come out and win for their selves and the children. I am therefore appealing to corporates and the private sector to partner us in this worthy initiative and tee off for the children!
“The partnership we have entered into with KIDZCAN and the Golf Association of Zimbabwe for this Pro-AM golf tournament highlights the direction we are pursuing under the Zimbabwe National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan, 2021-25. The achievement of the results envisaged in this plan will rest on among other strategies, establishment and maintenance of functional partnerships and synergies that are mutually beneficial. We shall therefore be pursuing such and other partnerships with various other sectors in line with the strategic plan and the HIV and AIDS resource mobilisation strategy to ensure that the response is well resourced,” said Dr Madzima.
He added that lack of community awareness has been identified as one of the major challenges that they face in fighting cancer, as 80% of cancer patients present late at stages 3 and 4, resulting in increased premature deaths.
“Other challenges include inadequate resources for cancer programmes and limited service coverage, leaving people in outlying areas with limited or without services at all.”
In Zimbabwe, over 6000 new cases of cancer are recorded each year, with cervical cancer alone accounting for 35% of all the cancers.
Mr Simon Murungweni Secretary General, Zimbabwe Professional Golfers Association said NAC has always come through and the partnership has been growing over the years.
“We have been using our strength and mobilize resources for those that are in need which is why we are here again. The main thing for us is to make sure we get these chemotherapy medicines and diagnostics for the recipients. We have put all attributes of golf to do something for the needy,” said Murungweni.
Meanwhile, KidzCan Executive Diretor, Mr Daniel Mckenzie said the challenges associated with management of childhood cancer are huge and complex.
“NAC has come to KidzCan rescue by availing financial support as we heard just over 52 000 United States dollars for procurement of medication, raising awareness, diagnostics and bus fares. We are hopeful that come 2022, NAC will come with more support.
“Often the machines are down at Parirenyatwa so we have to outsource. This contribution will help the two doctors that we have to make their work easier and our patience will benefit more. KidzCan will try to emulate the successes of NAC which has scored high in HIV management and in childhood cancer. Our expectation is that the golfers will go back enriched and appreciating the significance of this tournament in relation to childhood cancer exposure in this country,” Mr Mckenzie said.
According to the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe Childhood cancers are mostly those of the white blood cells (leukemia, brain, bone and the lymphatic system. Each type of childhood cancer behaves differently, but develop because of an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells.