This Health-e News documentary produced for eNCA’s Checkpoint looks at the dire shortage of cancer treatment in South Africa’s public sector
Cancer is currently the leading cause of death in the world. In South Africa, cancer is expected to increase by nearly 80 percent in the next 20 years.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that we’re facing a “tidal wave” of cancer, thanks to lifestyle and eating habits. Is our public health system prepared to deal with this crisis, with poor detection of cancer in primary health care facilities and lengthy delays between diagnosis and treatment?
Health-e News Service investigates the dire lack of cancer treatment available to public health care users in an upcoming Checkpoint documentary, ‘Access to cancer treatment’. Only two state hospitals in the Gauteng region offer full line chemotherapy and radiation treatment – resulting in long waiting list of patients and a backlog of referrals from other provinces and rural areas.
“I did not think it would be like this that it would take so long to get treatment, to be sent back. It surprised me too, more than 5 times to be sent back. Sent back, sent back…” – Ezekiel Moloi, cancer patient
In these units, equipment is faulty and radiation machines regularly break down. There are continual shortages of essential chemotherapy drugs and pain medication. This means that patients’ therapies are interrupted, reducing their chances of survival.[quote float=”right”]“I did not think it would be like this that it would take so long to get treatment, to be sent back”
“The recurring problem within the public health sys is delays. Delays in diagnosis, delays in referral, delays in getting treatment and all these delays need to be attended to timeously otherwise patients suffer.” – Dr Devan Moodily
This documentary follows two cancer patients as they persevere to receive the care and treatment from the public health care system in South Africa that they need to battle the disease.
Watch “Access to Cancer Treatment”, this Tuesday on eNCA’s Checkpoint at 21:30pm on DStv Channel 403.
Written and Directed by: Sasha Wales-Smith
Health-e News Service
Tel: 011 880 08995