By Catherine Murombedzi
A recent visit to purchase weed killer at CP Chemicals in Mt Hampden turned out to be what the doctor had ordered.
The month is October, the premises is awash with breast cancer awareness messages. To top it up, the main desk at the purchase point and the reception display pink breast cancer messages, eye-catching and effective communication.
I make a request to take pictures of the beautiful floating balloons.
After purchasing the required chemicals for ease of farming, we are given the agronomist’s phone number, just in case we need more information on use and application.
I request to talk to public relations on the October Breast cancer messages that are awash. A call from the receptionist and a jovial young woman comes through.
“My name is Catherine Murombedzi, a freelance health science and development journalist, I am impressed by your celebration of October,” I inform the young lady.
“My name is Fadzai Mutasa. I am the Business Development Officer. Thank you for showing interest in our products and our October Breast Cancer displays too,” said Mutasa.
Further engagement reveals the pro-female aspect that the organisation promotes is meant to offer equal opportunities across the gender divide.
“At CP Chemicals, we are an equal opportunity employer and on further analysis, most of our employees are actually women. We are very cognisant of issues that affect females in our company and in the world at large. We, therefore, do not miss a chance to be part and parcel of initiatives that give support to women, that conscientise the public about issues that affect women either positively or negatively.
“We value October so much as it is the month which has been set aside to talk about breast cancer. The challenge is, not many people know these things and not many people know that people can even go for screening, so we are very proud to be part and parcel and to participate in this month towards conscientising women about breast cancer. So, that is who were are. We value our workforce and our workforce consists of about 50% women, so we are very proud to be part of this initiative. In the future, we hope to partner with more organisations that promote such initiatives. There can be life after Breast Cancer,” she said adding the month has been christened #Pinktober.
In other related news, an oncologist touched by the plight of patients who can’t afford the tablets that suppress the regrowth of cancer cells after successfully undergoing treatment, Dr. Anna-Mary Nyakabau has partnered with interested organisations to mitigate the cancer response. Through her organisation, Cancerserve, they have donated tamoxifen, a life-saving drug to breast cancer survivors at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
“Cancerserve came up with an idea to save women who had breast cancer and had undergone the procedure and chemotherapy. They needed tamoxifen to suppress the recurrence of the cancer cells. Tamoxifen is a long-term treatment taken for five or more years. It is a targeted Therapy, (TT). By targeted, it searches for specific components to reduce the multiplication of cancer cells,” said Dr. Anna-Mary Nyakabau, an oncologist.
“The idea became reality. Partners were sought locally and abroad, with patients, and individuals donating too, Spar Mabelreign, Innscor, and Laurelshinper from America came on board. The medication has arrived to save women from breast cancer relapse,” said Dr. Nyakabau.
“People want cancer treatment to be free, but it can not happen overnight. there is a need for people to realise that it is a process. We can’t wake up one day and the government finds money for all these cancer treatments. We have to work together with them to see to it that we introduce these programs, slowly but surely, until it is possible for cancer treatment to be free. This may take a few years but it will happen,” said Dr. Nyakabau.
As an adviser to the Minister of Health and Child Care on Cancer, Dr. Nyakabau has been appointed to head the five-year National Cancer Strategic Plan.
She is working with experts in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, (MoHCC) communities, patients, and partners.
With breast cancer being the second most common cancer among women, an estimated 2000 new cases were diagnosed and more than 900 deaths in 2019. (https://.cancerzimbabweorg).
With most cancer cases diagnosed in the late stages, mortality is high.
Tamoxifen is an evidence-based effective treatment and more partners are required to mitigate the cancer response.
Look out for the next installment, cancer survivors give inspiring testimonies.
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