FIRST Lady Esther Lungu has called for more concerted efforts in the dissemination of cancer related information. Ms Lungu was speaking during the Nursing and Cancer Care Conference under the theme ‘Strengthening, Collaboration and Promoting Cancer Care, Nursing Education and Practice and Nursing and Midwifery in Zambia at 50 Years’.

She emphasised that the dissemination would create awareness required for individuals and communities to seek medical attention that will promote and save lives. The First Lady said information was the basis for better judgment and decision making, as the Government’s desire is to see its citizens in good health. “Estimates show that the overall cancer incidence for Zambia in 2012 was 9,953 per 100, 000 and the mortality rate was 7,521 deaths per 100, 000,” she said.

Ms Lungu commended the efforts of the different stakeholders involved in the fight against cancers and the role that that the former first lady Christine Kaseba played in putting Zambia on the world map through her advocacy on cancer awareness. Meanwhile, University Teaching Hospital (UTH) senior medical superintendent Lackson Kasonka praised the governments of Finland and Malawi for the continued collaboration to save lives.

Dr Kasonka said due to the collaboration between the three countries, Zambia has scored a number of successes in the provision of quality care to cancer patients. Dr Kasonka however said the health sector still faced challenges especially in dealing with cancer cases. “Some challenges are that we have inadequate trained human resource at the cancer Disease Hospital, compounded by lack of local training facilities in cancer management. High maintenance cost of new equipment and reagents at CDH and inadequate infrastructure like storages,” he said.

General Nursing Council of Zambia registrar Universe Mulenga appealed to the First Lady for continued support in their effort to lobby for enhanced learning and teaching environment in nursing and midwifery training.

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