HARARE – Activists have applauded MDC legislator Thokozani Khupe for moving a motion for the introduction of cancer levy.
Talent Yakado, the founder of Tanyaradzwa Trust and a cancer survivor, said introducing a cancer levy was a great idea.
“People cannot afford the $25 for the pap smear,” Yakado said. “And it does not help that only a few clinics are offering the service.
“The levy will help give people more clinics resulting in every woman being checked for cancer. A cancer levy will give cancer the attention it needs.”
Junior Mavhu, Cancer Association of Zimbabwe knowledge manager, said a cancer levy will help in cancer research and treatment in Zimbabwe.
Khupe’s motion, seconded by another MDC MP Ruth Labode, seeks to call on Parliament to push for the establishment of cancer treatment units in the country.
“We are alarmed by the number of women dying from breast and cervical cancer in Zimbabwe and concerned at the unavailability of cancer treatment in Zimbabwe,” Khupe said in her notice.
“We are also deeply worried by the lack of accessibility to cancer treatment in Zimbabwe and further concerned that cancer treatment is not available, accessible and affordable to majority of the women.”
Khupe is a cancer survivor and has undergone intensive treatment outside the country.
Last year, she confessed that she had lost one of her breasts to cancer.
According to the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry, at least 33 percent of women diagnosed with cancer in 2009 had cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer also accounted for about 8 percent of all cancer deaths in the same year.
Breakthroughs in science and technology such as the recently discovered vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that causes cancer and new screening technologies will go a long way in reducing the risk of developing cervical cancer in women, according to Cancer Association of Zimbabwe (Caz).
Health experts have said the HPV vaccine is recommended for girls aged between 9 and 13 years.
According to Caz, regular screening tests such as Pap smears and visual inspection with acetic acid and cerviography (VIAC) were also important tests that were recommended for all sexually active women above the age of 21 years.
The World Health Organisation says cancer causes seven million deaths annually worldwide.