Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter—
The Chinese Government yesterday handed over medical equipment and drugs worth $50 000 to Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital to be used for the prevention and treatment of cervical cancer. The ceremony also saw the presentation of six doctors from China who will work in Zimbabwe for two weeks assisting patients on reproductive health. In a speech read on his behalf by the director of family health in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Bernard Madzima, Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said cervical cancer was the most common cancer among women accounting for 33,4 percent of all cancer cases among women.
Zimbabwe is one of the 10 countries in Africa with a high burden of cervical cancer. “The disease burden for cervical cancer had been greatly influenced by the HIV epidemic. It is estimated that in Zimbabwe over 1 800 women are diagnosed of cervical cancer and about 1 500 die of the disease every year.
“Most cancer patients have no access to screening, early diagnosis, treatment even palliative care including pain relief. The early detection and treatment of cervical cancer does not require sophisticated facilities and equipment or highly specialised professionals. This can be decentralised to districts,” he said.
He expressed concern that most patients sought health care at an advanced stage of disease when treatment prospects would be greatly diminished.
“We have lost our loved ones to cervical cancer when it could have been prevented. The lucky patients are the ones with enough money to seek care or get assistance,”he said. The situation has been made better for Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals thanks to the Chinese team from Hunan Provincial Maternal and Child care Hospital who have come to give us support as we are going to hold a 10 day camp for the same cause,” he said.
He said Zimbabwe and China enjoyed a strong relationship dated back to the liberation struggle. China has supported Zimbabwe in the health department since independence and building hospitals, providing equipment and medicines and bilateral arrangements.
Chinese deputy ambassador, Zhao Baogang, said Zimbabwe and China enjoyed profound and traditional relations of friendship that dated back to the liberation struggle.
“We have close cooperation in all fields including health care. To further enhance bilateral cooperation in health, the Chinese President Xi Jinping made a commitment at the United Nations Summit to build 100 hospitals and clinics and implement 100 projects of maternal and child health in the developing countries in the next five years and announced the “China-Africa Public Health Cooperation Programme in the Johannesburg Summit of China Africa Cooperation Forum.
“The medical team coming from China is a follow up of the above mentioned commitments and a former start of cooperation in maternal and child health between the two countries. The team of six doctors will carry out philanthropic operations and give consultations and medical check ups throughout the two weeks stay here at Parirenyatwa Hospital,” he said.
Deputy Ambassador Zhao said the Chinese Government had already sent 14 batches of medical teams with a total sum of over 130 specialists to Zimbabwe.
“The Chinese doctors have been working closely with local hospitals and provide many philanthropic medical checks and consultations in Gweru, Bindura, Mutare, Chinhoyi and Seke with over 2 000 partners receiving free medical services and given hospitality to support them.
Parirenyatwa clinical director, Mr Noah Madziva said the donated equipment would go along in assisting patients at the institution.