Paidamoyo Chipunza, Harare Bureau
The country’s leading media group, Zimpapers, will today hold a five-kilometre walk, whose aim is to raise funds and spread awareness about cancers, which have become one of the major killer diseases in Zimbabwe.
The walk is scheduled to start at 6am at Old Hararians Sports Club, with scores of Zimbabweans, including officials from Government and parastatals, and representatives from different corporate organisations participating. Participants are required to pay $5 registration fee, with the proceeds being channelled to Island Hospice — a non-profit organisation offering palliative care to cancer patients.
Apart from walking five kilometres and shedding off some weight, those who attend can expect to enjoy Zumba with fitness trainer Zorro and interaction with radio and print personalities from Zimpapers as well as free health checks that will be on offer.
“It is for this reason (the fight against cancer) that Zimpapers entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Island Hospice in 2015 following a growing realisation that Cancer had become a cause for concern,” said the group’s spokesperson Ms Beatrice Tonhodzayi.
“Almost every week, there was an appeal for funds by someone who wished to take their family member out of the country for treatment. It soon became apparent that many people were losing lives to cancer and yet not much was known about cancer and other non-communicable diseases commonly referred to as lifestyle conditions.”
Ms Tonhodzayi said cancer has become a huge burden on the country’s health system requiring a multi-sectoral response to mitigate its effects hence the company’s initiatives such as the power walk taking place today.
“We are pleased with the response from Government, corporates, as well as individuals who have also taken it upon themselves to rally behind this worthy cause,” said Ms Tonhodzayi. “The response is overwhelming and the programme continues to grow from strength to strength since 2015.”
Ms Tonhodzayi said Zimpapers realised its strength in content generation and dissemination, hence it made sense to open its platforms to disseminating information on health and in particular cancer.
“If people need to eat healthy, then we are committing to speaking about it,” she said. “If exercise should be a way of life; then we are committed to pushing that.”
Island Hospice executive director Ms Bev Sebastian said the cancer response required collaborative efforts to ensure adequate resourcing for its prevention and management.
She said Zimbabweans were not collaborating enough to support people living with cancer and their families.
“Collaboration and partnership is key right now in Zimbabwe to tackle cancer prevention, treatment and care,” said Ms Sebastian. “We thank Zimpapers for demonstrating this by organising the power walk and including key stakeholders and the public.
“We cannot do it on our own, but together we can make a difference.”
Ms Sebastian said often, patients for palliative care present late, leading to unnecessary distress and pain.
“Recently, one of our nurses told me it was painful for her to hear a daughter whose mother was living with breast cancer and in severe pain saying they wished they had presented earlier, her mother would not have suffered that long,” she said.