Better communication and awareness programmes required in the battle against cancer
The Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) together with the Namibia National Cancer Registry (NNCR) which CAN administrates and funds this week said that with reviewed data, there is need for stronger cancer communication and treatment efforts especially in the North, given an average of 28% of the recorded national cancer burden is derived from this area alone.
Rolf Hansen, Chief Executive Officer of CAN said that the statistics further show that the Erongo Region with an average of 200 out of 3700 nationwide cases per annum needs support, while the Zambezi Region which shows continuous high cervical and HIV related cancer cases also requires attention.
“We live in an era where when addressing high school students more than 90% are sexually active by the final year of school and when we address mothers in school uniform they are not aware of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), their HIV status or have gone for a Pat test since being sexually active or post child birth,” explained Hansen.
Hansen said that the HPV epidemic is reaching an all time high in Namibia, education on sexual activity and how HPV and HIV has an influence on cancer diagnosis is also communicated by CAN.
According to the Association the best way to create awareness and educate people on cancer is through the National Cancer Outreach Programme where local schools, clinics and communities are addressed by the outreach teams during the visits.
“The visits aim to build capacity with local committees and volunteers in order to drive local communication campaigns that can run throughout the year,” he added.
Meanwhile the 2016 registry indicates that more than 3700 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the country. The 2016 and 2017 registries are currently still being populated due to slow influx of data.
Hansen said that even though cancer is not a reportable disease in the country, CAN is confident that the Namibia National Cancer Control Plan presented to the Ministry of Health and Social Services, once passed this year, will assist in the battle against cancer.
Caption: Hon. Juliet Kavetuna, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services (standing), Rolf Hansen, Chief Executive Officer of CAN (left) assisting with the men’s health clinic at the Gondwana Damara Mopane Lodge outreach in the Khorixas area.