While the government has put on hold plans to introduce a cancer levy, the national death toll from cancer related cases continues to rise, amid revelations that an average of 5000 new cases are being recorded every year.

Statistics from the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry indicate that a total of 7018 new cancer cases were recorded in a single year in 2014.

Mrs Mercy Mutanda from Chiredzi, Daniel Zibuke from Chipinge and Gogo Lucy Nyamukondiwa from Mutare are some of the cancer patients who are either undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment at Parirenyatwa Hospital.

The trio has found relief from a local voluntary organisation called ‘So We Care Foundation,’ which is providing them with free accommodation, food and transport to and from the hospital as well as access to treatment and medication.

The patients said the population must be educated on the importance of going for medical routine check-ups.

Touched by the selfless efforts of the voluntary organisation, Cresta Zimbabwe has chipped in to assist the patients being accommodated at a Mabvuku guest house.

“Love is not patronising and charity is not about pity,” said the hospitality company Managing Director, Mr Glen Stutchbury.

The patients, who have no relatives in Harare, would sleep on the benches at Parirenyatwa Hospital before the guest house was opened two months ago.  

Sister-in-Charge at Mabvuku Satellite Clinic, Ms Peddy Mumanyi and So We Care Foundation National Coordinator, Mr Malvern Mutungwazi were upbeat about the future of the guest house and the hope and relief it has brought to the beneficiaries.

The government is now diverting part of the AIDS levy to bankroll cancer treatment because of the high costs that are involved.

The ‘So We Care’ initiative was started by Mr David Kaitano from his personal savings, who said his greatest concern is cancer mortality which is on the increase because people only get to be diagnosed when the disease has already reached the later stages.

The country is witnessing an increasing number of sudden deaths including high profile personalities who only got to know that they had medical conditions when it was too late for any interventions.