India-Zimbabwe Health Partnership: A Boost for Africa’s Fight Against Cancer

India offers to donate cancer screening machines and share its expertise in traditional medicine and homeopathy

by Motoni Olodun

India has reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening its ties with Zimbabwe by offering to help improve the African nation’s healthcare system, especially in the area of cancer prevention and treatment.

According to ZBC News, a partner of TV BRICS, Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Vijay Khanduja highlighted the long-standing and multifaceted relationship between the two countries. “Our partnership dates back to the Mutapa State and the shared struggle for Zimbabwe’s independence,” he said. “Now, we are expanding our cooperation into the economic and health sectors.”

Ambassador Khanduja specifically mentioned ongoing discussions regarding the donation of cancer screening machines, which would demonstrate India’s support for Zimbabwe’s fight against the disease. He also expressed India’s willingness to share its expertise and experience in the field of traditional medicine and homeopathy.

This offer builds upon an established foundation of collaboration between the two countries. Zimbabwe participated in the 18th India-Africa Conclave held in New Delhi last year, which served as a platform to explore avenues for broader economic cooperation.

The proposed healthcare assistance aligns with India’s longstanding commitment to supporting development initiatives in Africa. This partnership has the potential to significantly improve healthcare access and outcomes for the people of Zimbabwe.

India’s gesture comes at a time when Zimbabwe is facing a serious challenge in dealing with cancer, which is one of the leading causes of death in the country. According to the World Health Organization, Zimbabwe recorded 7,018 new cases and 4,702 deaths from cancer in 2020. The most common types of cancer among Zimbabweans are cervical, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers.

The lack of adequate facilities, equipment, and personnel has hampered the efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer in Zimbabwe. Many patients have to travel long distances to access the few available services, which are often costly and overstretched. Some have to seek treatment abroad, which is even more expensive and inaccessible for most.

The situation has been worsened by the impact of the global pandemic, which has disrupted the delivery of essential health services and diverted resources away from other health priorities. The pandemic has also increased the vulnerability of cancer patients, who are at a higher risk of severe illness and death from the virus.

However, despite the challenges, Zimbabwe has shown resilience and determination in tackling the cancer burden. The government has adopted a national cancer prevention and control strategy, which aims to reduce the incidence and mortality of cancer through integrated and comprehensive interventions. The strategy also seeks to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and survivors.

Moreover, Zimbabwe has received support from various partners, such as the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations, and several non-governmental organizations, in implementing its cancer strategy. These partners have provided technical and financial assistance, as well as advocacy and awareness-raising activities, to enhance the country’s capacity and response to cancer.

India’s pledge to support Zimbabwe’s healthcare system, particularly in the area of cancer, is therefore a welcome and timely boost for the country and the continent. It is also a testament to the solidarity and friendship that exist between the two nations and the people of Africa and Asia. As the world marks World Cancer Day on February 4, this partnership offers a ray of hope and a model of cooperation for the global fight against cancer.

Source: Daily News Egypt

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