In Africa, cancer used to be thought of as a disease that affected ‘Western countries”, so far removed from us. Africa has faced many issues over the centuries that have plagued our souls and our subsequent development as a continent : slavery; colonialism; poverty; hunger; political instabilities…we now face a new and growing killer – cancer.
It’s no longer a matter of catching glimpses of people on our TV sets or changing the radio station whenever we hear of,(if at all), people wearing ‘pink ribbons’ or participating in walks for ’some cancer or the other’ on another continent. It is now real; peering through our windows; knocking loudly on our front doors; claiming our loved ones; our role models; current and future leaders.
Consider the following as a few of many examples: the harrowing statistics of cervical cancer. 80% of cases occur amongst women in Southern Africa. Breast cancer is the leading cancer affecting African women. Meanwhile prostate cancer is one of the leading cancers affecting African men. There is an unbreakable link between the ability of a nation to develop and the health of its people. How can Africa build itself up as a nation, amongst the other battles it faces, without standing up tall and defiant, to prevent and reduce the risk of this disease?
These are several ways in which cancer affects the development of a healthy Africa:
It is well-documented that most cancers are preventable through for example: the education of individuals, particularly children and teenagers; through early screening; programmes for tobacco control; vaccinations for liver and cervical cancers; as well as adapting healthier eating habits and more regular physical activity.
More than 40% of cancers are preventable. Thus the Elizabeth Chanakira Cancer Trust, established in Zimbabwe, in May 2011, aims to be a part of reducing the number of deaths. The ECCT’s objectives are to:
In Zimbabwe alone, cancer is now the leading cause of death, above any other disease, including HIV/AIDS. The vision is to help those throughout Africa as the ECCT grows.
October Awareness campaigns
ABHF/ECCT ladies collaboration for Cervical Cancer Awareness September 2011
**Remember the ECCT will be raising cancers affecting both genders, 1 month at a time. Wherever you are in the world, we can all make a difference.
Copyright © 2013 Farai Today