Time to rise to cancer threat

In yesterday’s edition, we carried a story about reported cases of cancer in the Central District. The district has recorded 535 cases of cancer in the last 18 months, with at least 50 of those registered in Palapye.

With a national population of just over two million, such high figures in one district alone is undoubtedly huge and should be a source of concern.

According to the doctor interviewed, most of the patients visited health facilities when their cancer was already at an advanced stage.

Cancer is a disease that has potential to wipe out the human race if not detected at an early stage.


It is therefore important that as a nation we build a new culture of doing regular check ups even when one is not sick.

In addition to the government healthcare services, there are institutions as the Botswana Defence Force, Diagnofirm Laboratories and private practitioners who regularly engage in operations to do free medical checks or tests for members of the public.

A few weeks back, the Cancer Association of Botswana engaged in a 100-kilometre walk to sensitise the public about cancer, and educating patients on best ways to live with the disease. They walked from Ramatlabama to Gaborone and stopped at every village to conduct public education.

Despite these efforts, there are still infrastructural problems causing difficulty in providing and accessing healthcare time. Because of the long queues at health facilities, many people find it difficult to visit hospitals and clinics for these life saving check-ups. The long queues, where patients arrive in hospitals as early in the morning as 7am and at times only to get their doctor’s attention in the afternoon, and in some instances, going home at 4:30pm, are a reality that majority of those without medical aid cover have to endure.  Because of such obstacles, many discover their conditions too late.

Also, shocking figures coming out of the central district are a clear sign that we are approaching another health crisis, hence concerted efforts must be employed to educate the public about some of these diseases that used to be associated with the ‘rich and monied’.

It is high time the Ministry of Health engaged in joint operations with security establishments like the BDF and the private sector to go on a nationwide testing exercise to root out this problem before it is too late.

If left unchecked, we might wake up one day to learn that half of the population is suffering from some form of disease or condition.

We employ the Minister of Health, Dorcas Makgatho to rise to the reality, and take the health of the nation head-on. Cancer can and should be defeated, before the nation goes down the same way it did pre-ARV period when HIV/AIDS was taking many lives.

Today’s thought

“You may not appreciate the presence of good health, but you will definitely regret the absence of good health, because health is happiness.”

 

-Amit Kalantri

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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