By Michael Gwarisa
In a bid to ease the burden of costs associated with accessing cancer treatment, TM Pick n Pay, CABS, in partnership with the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe (CAZ), have donated Chemotherapy Drugs to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals Oncology department.
The drugs are worth US$50,000 and will be administered free of charge to Cancer patients in need of treatment.
In his acceptance speech, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals Clinical director, Dr Morgan Mhlanga said many patients struggle to access Chemotherapy drugs due to the exorbitant costs associated with the medication.
There are a lot of our patients who cannot afford Chemotherapy drugs and this is a boost which is going to help us in the management of our cancer patients. We want to thank you. And I would like to accept this donation with all the hands. I would like to give my special thanks to CABS, Pick n Pay and Cancer Association of Zimbabwe,” said Dr Mhlanga.
Funds that procured the drugs were generated through the Pink Swipe initiative, which was initiated by CABS and Pik n Pay where a certain amount would be deducted from every purchase done using CABS swipe or Point of Sale machines and Zumba sessions from Pick n Pay.
Dr Nothando Mutizira Head of the Radiotherapy Department at Parirenyatwa Hospital said, “…today we received a big donation of Chemotherapy Drugs that are meant to cover treatment for most of the common cancers that we treat daily. Usually, we have a challenge of our patients not being able to afford these drugs such that it leaves us in a difficult situation where we are not able to deliver the treatment that we hope to give to our patients.”
She added that the availability of the drugs from the donation will make their jobs easier since the patients will be guaranteed that the patient will be able to receive the treatment that would have been prescribed.
“There are varying costs depending on what drugs would have been prescribed so I can’t put a figure to say chemotherapy costs this much. Chemo is not one drug but many.”
A cancer patient in Zimbabwe is most likely to pay US$40 to US$60 for a single specimen. That is the cost of diagnoses only. Other costs include Biopsy which involves laboratory tests and CT Scans which may cost US$60 or US$80 depending on the position where exactly the scan should be taken.
Junior Mavu, the General Manager Cancer Association of Zimbabwe said Cancer was responsible for numerous deaths in Zimbabwe and the donation would go a long way in offering patients another chance at life.
“So in October is Breast Cancer Month, and that’s when we do most of our fundraising. So we partnered with TM Pick n Pay together with CABS. For TM Pick n Pay Campaign, it was Zumbas every Saturday from September to the end of October. For CABS it was donating a cent from every CABS swipe machine that was used. So that money that was generated in that particular area.