LEGISLATORS yesterday implored First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa to take the lead in the fight against cancer to ensure affordable treatment.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The issue was raised in a motion moved in the National Assembly by Gokwe-Gumunyu MP Melania Mahiya and seconded by Glen View North MP Fani Munengami.
Mahiya expressed concern at the high cost of cancer treatment, as well as the very high cost of blood transfusions, which were worsening the plight of cancer victims.
“The First Lady is requested to consider joining other first ladies in the war against cancer,” Mahiya said.
“A pint of blood in Zimbabwe cost between $120 and $140 as at June 2016, and the high cost is attributed to high costs of preparation of the blood to ensure it is free from HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis, yet in Zambia a pint of blood costs $50.”
Munengami said MPs should also join in the advocacy to create awareness on cancer and lobby for the Health ministry to get at least 15% of the National Budget so that people get good health services.
Gutu South MP Paul Chimedza said at one time the committee had resolved to approach former First Lady Grace Mugabe to join other countries’ first ladies, who were holding meetings to fight cancer.
“At one time the committee had resolved to go and talk to former First Lady Grace Mugabe about the issue of joining other first ladies in the fight against cancer because we went to Zambia, Namibia and Kenya, where first ladies met to discuss cancer, but Grace was not there,” he said.
Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Thokozani Khupe said it pained her to see birthing mothers, cancer patients and accident victims being charged exorbitant blood costs, when schoolchildren are donating blood to the National Blood Services for free and are given biscuits and soft drinks as a reward.
Khupe said, as a cancer survivor, it also pained her a lot to see people dying due to failure to raise money for cancer treatment.
Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba won plaudits from Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Wadyajena, when he reiterated the call by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that all those who externalised money should bring it back, adding it should go towards combating cancer.
“If Parliament could make former President Robert Mugabe to rush to sign a resignation letter, then there is nothing that can stop us from allocating 15% of the National Budget to go towards health,” Chinotimba said.
“We see people building very big houses yet Zimbabweans are suffering.
“Some used to speak against land barons yet they were the biggest land barons.
“That money must go towards cancer treatment.”
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health chairperson Ruth Labode appealed to MPs to allocate at least $10 000 each from their Constituency Development Fund allotment towards purchase of cancer-testing machines, so that they are readily available for all Zimbabwean.