CIDERU Helping Lead the Way to Better Health
The Multinational Lung Cancer Control Programme (MLCCP) housed in UKZN’s Cancer and Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Research Unit (CIDERU) is hosting two-day X-ray screenings and awareness projects on lung cancer at eight clinics in the uMgungundlovu area.
The free X-ray services are being provided to the communities of uMgungundlovu near Pietermaritzburg through clinics at Imbalenhle, Impilwenhle, Sinathing, Azalea, Esigodini, Willowfontein, Ashdown, and Grange, until the end of September.
Most of the clinics deal with a large number of TB patients, making them ideal sites for lung cancer screening, given the overlap in symptoms between the two diseases. The programme thus provides valuable support to the public health sector and the broader community.
The purpose of the drive is to raise awareness about lung cancer including early detection, diagnosis, treatment and care, thereby hopefully lessening the burden of lung cancer patients on the public health system.
The MLCCP, created in response to the pressing need to improve treatment outcomes for lung cancer, has energised the hearts of the people they serve, giving them hope.
Said Ms Xoli Mtunzi of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health: ‘Thank you for assisting us to reach out to our patients in the different areas. Some are far away and out of reach but through this initiative, we are now able to offer them the help they need.’
Head of Diagnostics at Aurum Innova Mr Khodani Mavhusha thanked those involved in the project saying most areas designated as rural locations had no access to health facilities offering the necessary services but the MLCCP was getting to those places and making a difference in the health sector.
‘X-ray services are supposed to be easily accessible, however, we are living in a state where accessibility is limited. Mobile operations in this regard, play a huge role in taking health care services to places where it is difficult for hospitals/clinics to reach,’ said Mavhusha.
‘We have a lot of people out there who require these services, and by simply doing a chest X-ray we can avoid some of the deaths that occur in our communities.
‘My dream is for us to achieve more and this is possible through having CT scanners in a mobile setup. I’d like us to be the catalyst for change and to introduce those kinds of modalities in rural areas because I believe they bring a lot of change and can assist and enrich our health systems.’
A proud participant in the X-ray drive held at Impilwenhle Clinic, Mr Bonginkosi Lwandle, took part in the initiative because of concern for his health and the wellbeing of his family.
Said Lwandle: ‘I was speaking to others involved and we all agreed the service we have received from CIDERU through the MLCCP has been outstanding. We would have spent a lot of money if we had gone through the private sector.’
Words: Ziphezinhle Sibisi