health

Feb. 9, 2022

LINEO MABEKEBEKE

3 min read

Govt pays M200 000 to treat each cancer patient

Govt pays M200 000 to treat each cancer patient

Director General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr ’Nyane Letsie

Story highlights

  • A local cancer survivor, ’Malillo Mokhesi says she is lucky to be alive
  • While most women suffer from breast cancer, men are faced with a debilitating prostate cancer

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THE Lesotho Government pays between M150 000 and M200 000 for each cancer patient who has to be accommodated, transported and treated, and also depending on other individual requirements.

Cancer related deaths are estimated to be 1 189 per year in Lesotho with a mortality-to-incidence ratio of over 80.7 percent while cancer of the cervix is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women.

While most women suffer from breast cancer, men are faced with a debilitating prostate cancer, mostly in Maseru followed by Leribe and Berea.

Up to January 2021, Sankatana Center of Excellence, Oncology and Cervical Cancer Clinic had provided different types of treatment ranging from symptomatic, radiation, thermotherapy, chemo-radiation, surgery to a total of 488 oncology clients.

Treatment is mainly done surgically in the country while chemotherapy, radiation require patients to be referred to Bloemfontein, South Africa, for further management and advanced treatment.

Living with a new body shape after being diagnosed with cancer two years ago is a challenge for ’Malillo Mokhesi.

Her problem started when one of her breasts had to be cut off, a totally different feel and look from what she knew herself to be.

Ms Mokhesi tells Maseru Metro that she is living from day to day putting a brave face to the treatment, surgery and chemotherapy.

“The struggle to survive with a new body proves to be even a bigger challenge than I thought,” she adds.

Along with emotional, mental and financial stress, she says cancer and its treatment can be devastating.

 “Other changes can be permanent like loss of body parts especially after breast surgery,” she said.

She was quick to note that she was lucky to get family support in order to cope with her condition. “Regardless of the changes I am going through, they are always there for me,” she added.

Director General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr ’Nyane Letsie says understanding and recognising the inequalities in cancer care around the globe was fundamental to educating and raising awareness.

In this year’s commemoration of the World Cancer Day themed “Close the care gap”, Dr Letsie said cancer was now a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Lesotho.

“This is the fifth cause of death among adult men and second among female adults,” she also said.

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Dr Letsie said people across the world observed the World Cancer Day to create awareness, inspire change and reduce the global impact of cancer.

“The aim is to reduce misconceptions surrounding cancer and the prejudices associated with it and to help people in getting the right information about it,” she also said.

The World Cancer Day is an annual event that is celebrated on February 4.

It is the one singular initiative under which the entire world can unite together in the fight against the global cancer epidemic.

The World Cancer Day aims to prevent millions of deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.

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