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Govt determined to open cancer centre: King

Limpho Sello

HIS Majesty King Letsie III says the huge costs of referring cancer patients for treatment in India and South Africa have strengthened the government’s resolve to open its own cancer centre.

King Letsie III said this while addressing the recent 12th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancers in Africa Conference and Exhibition (SCCA) at Manthabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru.

The SCCA started last Sunday and ended yesterday which saw over 2500 people registering to part of three conferences.

In his remarks the King said cervical cancer is the leading cancer in Lesotho and the second most common in women between the ages of 15 to 44 years of age with approximately 312 cases being diagnosed every year.

“This sadly affects the most productive group whose incapacitation has dire consequences for their families and the nation at large,” His Majesty said.

“Prostate and breast cancer are also high in Lesotho and we have been referring our cancer patients to the medical facilities of our South African neighbours at a very high cost. On average our annual referrals to South Africa are in the range of 900 patients and we spend about M20 million which has burdened our tax payers.”

He said the huge costs of referring patients to South Africa had strengthened the government’s resolve to open a cancer treatment facility in the country.

“It is consequence of the aforementioned scenarios that my government is resolute on opening a cancer centre to mitigate the problem.

“In the meantime, we will collaborate with other countries that have already made impressive strides in this field such as India. A few weeks ago, a contingent of our people left to receive treatment at the Apollo Hospital in India.”

His Majesty further called on development partners to support government efforts to mobilise resources for the fight against cancer.

He also applaud the First Lady of Lesotho and her office for taking concrete action to raise public awareness on cancer.

“A common Sesotho says, ‘Mme o tsoara thipa ka bohaleng’ which means that ‘it is always the mother who will always show courage and grasps the hurdle to find the solution to any given problem’.

“In this regard we commend Mme ‘Maesaiah and her office for indeed grasping that hurdle and assuming a leading role in organising country wide campaigns that preceded this conference. The campaigns were aimed at raising awareness on the disease and encouraging people to test for cancer.”

Ms Thabane assumed the chair of the Forum of the African First Ladies against Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer during the SCCA conference last Monday.

His Majesty also advised the public to lead a healthy life style by eating nutritious natural foods, saying this would help reduce the likelihood of contracting cancer and other diseases.

“Let me remind you that nutrition plays a critical part in our lives and through good nutrition many of the common diseases can be avoided.

“What you eat and how much you eat could make a difference. A nutritious diet based on natural foods can help in reducing the burden of cancer and other diseases. We need to stop the practice of turning our farmlands into residential areas. Instead we should embark on sustainable nutrition agriculture which will ensure that we end hunger and improve nutrition by 2030,” His Majesty said.

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