First Lady Esther Lungu has called on the global governments and the private sector to increase investments in cancer prevention and control as a matter of urgency.
According to a statement issued by Zambia’s First Secretary for Press to South Africa Naomi Nyawali, Esther said delaying investments in the prevention of cancer would be too costly to comprehend in a speech read on her behalf by former first lady Dr Christine Kaseba Sata at the 11th Stop Cervical, breast and prostate cancer in Africa Conference held at the Hilton Hotel in Johannesburg.
Esther said cancer prevention and control was a moral imperative and critical investment in the future of societies.
She said the cancer fight was expected to be costly as the HIV fight was since the estimated cost of cervical cancer was expected to double from 2.7 billion dollars pay year in 2010 to 4.7 billion dollars pay year in 2030.
Mrs Lungu said Zambia like other African countries was not able to afford another pandemic in the form of cancer on the heels of its relentless fight against HIV and other infectious diseases.
She disclosed that about 70 per cent of the diagnosed cancer patients in Zambia die making the cancer related mortality very high.
She said high mortality was what had triggered all efforts and programmes to ensure that cancer related mortality was reduced.
Esther said Zambia would be the first country to be supported by the Global Fund for Cervical Cancer Screening in Zambia, in conjuntion with organizations such as PEPFAR, CDC, CIDRZ and PRRR.
She said the next ten years would demand sustained and tireless efforts in ensuring that the objective of reducing cancer mortality rate by two thirds by the year 2030 was achieved.