MUNIDE ZULU, Lusaka
GOVERNMENThas commended Kayula Childhood Cancer Foundation for its immense contribution towards the fight against retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer of the eye in children.
The disease is a rare form of cancer that rapidly develops from the immature cells of a retina, the light-detecting tissue of the eye.
It is the most common malignant cancer of the eye in children, and it is almost always found in young children.
Speaking during a breakfast meeting hosted by Kayula Childhood Cancer Foundation in Lusaka yesterday, Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health Emerine Kabanshi said in a speech read for her by acting permanent secretary Simmy ChapulaÂ that Government attaches great importance to the non-governmental organisationâ€™s (NGO) continued quest to raise awareness on the cancer.
â€œRetinoblastoma is one of the most common cancerous tumour overall affecting children and infants,â€ Ms Kabanshi said.
She said Government has started a process of developing a cancer control strategy that will act as a tool to allocate resources for long-term development of capacity both at the national and provincial level to manage cancers.
She said prevention, screening and treatment interventions will be prioritised.
â€œCancer treatment and initial diagnosis need to be decentralised as far as possible and this is where we need to make people aware of these childhood cancers,â€ Ms Kabanshi said.
She implored the media to take up the challenge to help save children from the cancer.
Ms Kabanshi said the media are the ideal agents for social change in disseminating health messages in the various local languages.
Kayula Childhood Cancer Foundation executive director Mumba Sata also stressed the important role the media play in educating and sensitising people in communities.
She said the organisation will continue working with the media and other stakeholders if the fight against child cancer is to be won.
Mrs Sata said the organisation has been carrying out sensitisation to mothers in clinics on the disease.
And University Teaching Hospital (UTH) consultant pediatrician Musukwa Samba said early diagnosis is vital in the cure of the cancer, which affects one out of six children.
â€œIt is, however, unfortunate that most children are brought to UTH when their condition worsen,â€ Dr Sambo said.
MUNIDE ZULU, Lusaka