By Tadiwa Nyatanga-Pfupa
The HIV, Aids and cancer prevention golf drive coordinated by the National Aids Council (NAC) will be held at Chapman Golf Club on October 16-17, 2019. The major objective of the tournament is to raise resources for the scaling up of the integrated response to HIV and cancer. It is also in line with the 2018/2019 theme: Know Your Status, that encourages people to know their HIV, cancer, TB, diabetes and sexually transmitted infections status.
This noble initiative has already started yielding results. A total of 16 cervical cancer screening machines were procured through funds raised from the previous golf tournaments. These machines will compliment already available national services, while also expanding health care as they have multi-purpose capabilities such as screening and management of pregnancy, heart health and others.
NAC was mandated by the Health and Child Care minister to integrate cancer into the HIV response as 60% of all new cancer cases are related to HIV. The organisation has therefore taken cancer on board and has been putting particular emphasis on community awareness and education as well as procurement of equipment and drugs for diagnosis. NAC also plans to procure 11 colposcopy machines, at least one for each province. So far, two of these have been procured and one is destined for St Luke’s Hospital in Matabeleland North and one will go to Marondera Provincial Hospital.
National statistics have shown that cases of cancer are rising every year and that cervical cancer constitutes 35% of cancer cases. NAC is playing a key role in providing needed services particularly the procurement of relevant cervical cancer screening equipment to bridge the access gap in rural areas.
Due to shortage of specialist screening equipment in rural areas, more women are left to walk long distances and often times fail to travel to central health centres to access services due to prohibitive transport costs. Without access to screening, early diagnosis, treatment, palliative care, and pain relief, more women die in silence.
HIV testing and cervical cancer screening services shall be available during the course of the tournament, with a particular focus on golfers who are ordinarily very difficult to reach with HIV and AIDS services due to their tight business and personal schedules as most of them occupy managerial posts.
Government has called for more initiatives that can increase the resource purse to effectively tame cancer and other non- communicable diseases.
Individuals and corporates who wish to be part of this worthy cause can contact NAC on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.