WINDHOEK, 08 APR – Quality and equitable healthcare should be a basic human right, but it has been commodified and is a luxury that only few have access to in most parts of the world.
This, according to Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) Chief Executive Officer, Rolf Hansen.
In a statement read on his behalf at the commemoration of World Health Day in the capital on Saturday, Hansen urged Namibians to make quality healthcare a priority.
“In Namibia, we can proudly say that as a multi-organisational community, we all contribute to making healthcare accessible for our people,” he said.
The theme for this year’s World Health Day is ‘Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere’.
Hansen then spoke about how cancer affects Namibians.
He said on average, 10 Namibians are diagnosed with cancer daily. Skin cancer remains the most prevalent cancer in the country.
In 2015, 830 Namibians were diagnosed with skin cancer. Some 840 people are diagnosed with either breast cancer or cervical cancer every year.
An alarming fact is that immune-deficient forms of cancer such as Kaposi sarcoma, lymphoma and retinoblastomas are on the rise in the country, he added.
“With more than 3 700 Namibians newly diagnosed with cancer annually, it is crucial that we take hands and break the stigmas attached to health and build bridges to connect healthcare and support services,” he said.
Hansen said it is imperative to aggressively aim for universal healthcare and access to quality health services.
Echoing his sentiments was Khomas Governor, Laura McLeod-Katjirua, who said all Namibians must have access to healthcare services without being exposed to poverty.
“No one should have to choose between death and financial hardship. No one should have to choose between buying medicine and buying food. No one should have to choose between good health and other life necessities,” she said.
McLeod-Katjirua also thanked various stakeholders for their efforts in combating outbreaks, amongst others of Hepatitis E, in the region in recent times.
World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 07 April.
The event was attended by acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Petronella Masabane; United Nations Resident Coordinator, Kiki Gbeho; CAN’s Ingrid Muhenje; Samora Machel Constituency Councillor, Fanuel Shivute and over 300 community members.