The Zimbabwe Newspapers Group yesterday handed over $10 000 to Island Hospice & Healthcare -- an institution established out of the need to have direct home-based palliative care for those with life-threatening illnesses and their families, as well as a comprehensive bereavement service.
Part of the funds were raised through a Cancer Power Walk organised by Zimpapers early November last year, while the other was taken from the company's coffers. Officially handing over the funds yesterday, Zimpapers Group chief executive officer Mr Pikirayi Deketeke said Zimpapers was alive to the reality that cancer as well as other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were on the increase. He said Government had raised a red flag around this reality while families and individuals were also attesting to it.
"Realising the importance of healthy lifestyles in the prevention and management of some of these NCDs, Zimpapers noting its extensive reach to the public across the country through its multiple platforms; partnered Island Hospice & Healthcare in 2015.
"Through this partnership we have so far organised a Powerwalk for two years and today we are handing over funds raised from the 2017 Power Walk ($5 400) as well as our own donation as Zimpapers ($5 000) to Island Hospice to support their programmes.
"I am pleased to hand over $10 449 today," said Mr Deketeke. He said Zimpapers' vision was to have all women and men being able to access cancer education, screening and early treatment to prevent cases and improve treatment outcomes.
"For them to do this; we believe they need information. Through our partnership with Island Hospice we have committed our platforms, in print and in broadcasting to disseminate information around cancer and other NCDs," said Mr Deketeke.
"We want to see awareness of these conditions improving and people embracing healthier ways of living."
Mr Deketeke thanked all the people who joined Zimpapers for the Walk last year. He also thanked sponsors like the National AIDS Council, NetOne, IPEC, Swiss Embassy, Medirite Healthcare, Fawcett, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Rockfied Engineering, Tanganda, Cimas, Lafarge, Musikana Dzidza and Beta Holdings. He said Zimpapers intended to hold the Power Walk in three cities this year -- Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare.
Mr Deketeke also signed a memorandum of understanding between the Zimpapers Group and Island Hospice, which will see the two working together for an additional year. Island Hospice & Healthcare Executive Director Ms Bev Sebastian said they were proud to be a partner of Zimpapers.
"For several years Island Hospice & Healthcare and Zimpapers have raised awareness about palliative care. Last year Island Hospice & Healthcare supported more than 14 000 Zimbabweans in need of palliative care services.
"We also supported bereaved individuals and families and trained thousands of doctors, nurses, social workers, traditional healers and leaders and others. We could not have done this without Zimpapers," she said.
According to recent statistics from the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe, there has been a more than 50 percent increase in new cancer cases and close to 80 percent increase in cancer related deaths in recent years. Of the statistics, women are the most affected. This has been attributed to the high prevalence of female cancers such as cervical cancer.