The Cancer Association of Botswana received a financial boost of P65 500 from the financial services provider, Letshego, to help the nonprofit organization fight the cancer scourge that is ravaging the country.
Receiving the award on Friday, at the CAB offices in Gaborone, the Chief Executive officer of CAB, Dr. Magda Heunis, said the donation came at the right time when CAB is faced with the immense duties of providing temporary accommodation, medical care, meals and transportation to cancer patients who come from all corners of the country to receive treatment at the Princess Marina Hospital.
CAB cares for the cancer patients through the Interim Care Home, which was initiated in 2002 in collaboration with Princess Marina, to improve the comfort of cancer patients under treatment.
CAB, which was formed as a trust in 1998, offers patients staying at the Interim Care Home gardening projects talks and support group workshops to keep the patients motivated during their trying times.
Dr Heunis said that even though cancer remains a leading cause of death in Botswana and Africa, the public remains less aware of it. She, however, added that the promising news is that 40% of cancers are potentially preventable.
CAB and the Ministry of Health celebrated the world Cancer Day on February 4th under the international focus of prevention to raise awareness about the disease, which WHO statistics accredit to 12 million diagnosed annually and 7.6 million deaths. The world heath body further projects that if no action is taken, the worldwide cancer burden will reach 26 million by 2030 with 17 million deaths, with the most rapid increases in low and middle income countries, Botswana included.
Handing over the cheque, Letshego, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Fredrick Mmelesi, said he, on behalf of Letshego, was honoured to be making a contribution to the fight against one of humanities greatest threats.
“As we are fully aware, cancer is an ever increasing issue in Botswana and Letshego is dedicated to continuing its commitment to the Cancer Association of Botswana,” he said.
According to the statistics from the Botswana Cancer Registry, the four most common cancers in the country are skin cancer, cervical cancer, the notorious breast cancer and oesophageal cancer, which affects the throat.
In Botswana, cancer patients requiring chemotherapy or radiation therapy, which takes 6-8 weeks, have to travel to Gaborone for treatment, something costly for the patients.
It is for this reason that Letshego stepped forward to support CAB in a relationship dating back to three years.
Mmelesi advocated for a collective responsibility between organizations, the government, individuals and the private sector to curb the increasing scourge.
Heunis advised the public to avoid cancer risky behaviors such as tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, obesity and excessive sun exposure. She advised that to avoid these risk factors people should encourage healthy behavior, such as regular exercise and eating healthily.