HARARE, July 10– The government does not have the financial capacity to subsidize cancer treatment to cushion patients from high costs, says Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Paul Chimedzaa.
Responding to questions in Parliament here Wednesday, he said the government would want cancer treatment to be free but could not afford to cover the costs. “The treatment of cancer is very expensive and it is for government to have everyone access treatment,” he added.
“The total cost for one patient will be 6,980 US dollars and to add everything with other treatments the grant total will be 13,000 USD. If subsidizing at 50 per cent it means the government will need to pay
about 6,749 USD per patient.
“So it must be appreciated that with the budget allocated to the ministry and subsequently to the two central hospitals providing cancer treatment it is not logical to provide free cancer treatment.”
Dr Chimedza also justified the high fees charged by Parirenyatwa and Mpilo hospitals, pegged at around 678 USD for chemotherapy. “The treatment fees charged by the hospitals are ploughed back into the system to facilitate continued service provision,” he said.
In 2011, the national cancer registry reported 960 new prostate cancer cases. Also, according to the registry, cancer is killing more people than malaria, tuberculosis and the HIV and AIDS epidemic combined.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that on average 1,800 women are affected annually by either breast or cervical cancer. Of the number affected, an estimated 1,200 die from the disease annually.
SOURCE: NEW ZIANA