WINDHOEK, FEB 4 – The Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) celebrated World Cancer Day on Friday, with the association calling for addressing inequalities in healthcare. Held under the theme: “Closing the cancer care gap,” the association indicated that it was time to accept coexisting with the COVID-19 pandemic and all other diseases.
The association called for an in-depth look at socioeconomic factors, such as cultural contexts, gender norms, income and education levels; as well as the prejudices, discrimination and assumptions based on age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability and lifestyle that create wide disparities in cancer prevention, incidence and survival rates.
“Due in part to discrimination from healthcare practitioners, cancer screening amongst for instance transgender people and other’s within the LGBTQ+ community is lower than in the rest of the population. Because of the stigma attached to ethnicity in cancer, many African patients still present later and die because the belief remains that “cancer is for white people”.
“In order to achieve better health outcomes and move towards equitable healthcare, our health systems must function properly. And, while the administration remains critical, our vulnerable communities, persons and minorities also need to be heard in order to achieve this goal,” read a statement from CAN.
The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) advises that more than 90% of cervical cancer mortality occurs in low- and middle-income countries and as such CAN has sought to address this challenge.
“We have embarked on tackling this challenge in Namibia, but a lot more must be done a lot faster by all stakeholders involved to ensure we save lives from unnecessary deaths by this disease. Because, while cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in Namibia, it is the most preventable, easily screened and most effectively treated when women have access to the property healthcare services.”
The association believes that inequity can be reduced by educating the public about cancer prevention; equipping healthcare professionals with skills and knowledge including about how inequity influences cancer care, among other mitigating strategies.
“This World Cancer Day let’s close the care and support gap, so that all cancer patients in Namibia will have better access to treatment, support and cancer care.” – firstname.lastname@example.org