Breast cancer is the second commonest cancer affecting women in the country with the National Cancer Registry Association of Zimbabwe (NCRAZ) saying about 7 000 women in the country are diagnosed with the disease annually.
The international health exchange programme is funded by the United States Department of State and Avon Foundation established in 1955 with the aim of improving women’s lives.
This year’s exchange programme brings together medical specialists and health activists from around the world and according to the Avon Foundation, “the group includes clinicians, government health officials and those who have leadership roles in breast cancer non-profits in their home country.
“Following their international exchange, the 44 global participants will work in their home countries to combat breast cancer and raise awareness both in the medical field and to the public,” read in part a statement by the Avon Foundation.
Participating countries in the 2011 exchange programme are from Argentina, Armenia, Bhutan, Brazil, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Lithuania, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, United Arab Emirates Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The international exchange programme for this year coincides with the October Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Vice President, Joice Mujuru recently launched the breast cancer clinic and state-of-the-art mammographic screening equipment at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
Health experts say early detection of the disease can increase chances of survival, and Mujuru said the government was committed to investing in more facilities for those already diagnosed with breast cancer, including upgrading of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and pathology services.
Zimbabwe’s most high profile cancer patient is Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, who was given the diagnoses earlier this year.