ZIMBABWE – The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) in Zimbabwe has established the final draft of the country’s National Cancer Control Plan (NCCCP) for the period 2022-2026 in an effort to tackle the growing burden of cancer in Zimbabwe.
The draft NCCP recommends crucial interventions across seven pillars namely Cancer control governance, policy and planning, Prevention, screening and early diagnosis, Diagnosis, treatment and palliative care, Rehabilitation and Survivorship as well as Cancer surveillance and research.
The health ministry partnered with technical experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) Office in Zimbabwe and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to conduct a workshop aimed at updating the country’s National Cancer Control Plan (2014-2018).
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020. Between 2009 and 2018 cancer cases in Zimbabwe have almost doubled
During the workshop, key stakeholders identified and developed priorities for the new NCCP which covers the time 2022 – 2026 and a final draft of the NCCP was developed and agreed upon by the technical experts and stakeholders.
The workshop funded though the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer saw the participation of experts from cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care as well as key cancer stakeholders namely Cancer Association of Zimbabwe, Clinton Health Access Initiative as well as Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Zimbabwe.
The NCCP is aligned to the Zimbabwe’s National Health Strategy 2020-2025 and it will guide senior health officials in ensuring available resources are maximized as well as mobilized in different sectors of society toward a common goal on reduction of cancer burden.
The action plan update comes at a time when cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020 while incidence of cancer cases in Zimbabwe have almost doubled between 2009 and 2018.
The Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry associated the high cancer incidence and mortality with several risk factors including higher prevalence of behavioral risk factors for cancer, poor access to early diagnosis treatment and palliative care.
Subsequently, the Government of Zimbabwe has implemented several strategies covering cancer prevention and early diagnosis particularly focused on screening, treatment and care to address the rising cancer burden in the country.
The Government introduced Human papillomavirus vaccination against cervical cancer for its citizens together with a cervical cancer screening program that ensures early detection and treatment of cervical precancer as well as treatment for early cancer.
In addition, Zimbabwe is providing medical training to specialists in oncology, oncology nurses and radio oncologists at the government central hospital in Harare as well as ensuring needed human resource capacity for treatment and care of cancer are available in the public hospital.
The Government is also expanding manufacturing capacity and capabilities at the National Pharmaceutical Company responsible for procuring drugs for the country to ensure that critical drugs are available and accessible.
Meanwhile, IAEA jointly with WHO is aimed at promoting the safe, peaceful, and secure application of nuclear science and technology to address major sustainable development priorities particularly assisting Zimbabwe in improving its nuclear and radiation medicine capacities.
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