KIDZCAN Zimbabwe has urged the government to include childhood cancer on its health cards to monitor the children's health from birth.
Speaking during a two-day workshop held in Bulawayo, KidzCan Zimbabwe executive director Daniel Mackenzie said the move will result in many lives being saved.
“We are hoping to cover the whole country with this awareness, in terms of all the provinces, then after that we go to the (Health) ministry and ask them to include childhood cancer in the road to childhood card so that every new-born’s card has the cancer segment included on all the check-ups that are done,” Mackenzie said.
“There are three common cancers we are targeting, cancer of the blood, of the eye and of the kidney, these are the most common in the country and the easiest to treat and also are easy to detect.”
The workshop was aimed at raising childhood cancer awareness and was attended by 180 nurses and caregivers.
Mackenzie expressed concern over lack of knowledge by the child caregivers and clinics at large.
“The challenge we have in Zimbabwe is two-fold, out of all those coming forth to health centres, 60% are presenting late, it will be already late, because they will beseeking alternative treatment either to a faith or traditional healer while in the meantime the cancer will be growing,” he said.
He said some of the nurses got trained when childhood cancer was not in the curriculum, so they will be treating minor illnesses, yet the cancer will be growing.
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“The main message is, cancer is a word, it is not a death sentence. It’s just a name, but remember in children, if responded early, no child will die of it,because children respond better to treatment than adults,” added Mackenzie.
KidzCan is a child-centered private voluntary organisation, dedicated to increasing the survival rate of children suffering from cancer and blood-related disorders in Zimbabwe.
The organisation supports four hospitals, Parirenyatwa, Sekuru Kaguvi, Sally Mugabe and Mpilo — free of charge.