The Cancer Alliance today publishes its Advocacy Toolkit for Area #8 – Addressing the Negative Impact of Poverty on Cancer Services.
HUGE HEALTH INEQUALITIES IN SOUTH AFRICA, WITH AFRICAN AND RURAL COMMUNITIES WORST AFFECTED, MEANS POVERTY REMAINS THE UNJUST DETERMINANT OF WHETHER CANCER PATIENTS RECEIVE THE TREATMENT THEY DESERVE – AND TOO OFTEN ALSO WHETHER THEY LIVE OR DIE.
South Africa’s health system is dysfunctional, mostly thanks to the country’s history of discrimination based on race and gender. The current provincial healthcare system is focused on a primary care model that only makes provision for cervical and breast cancer in the Ideal Clinic Algorithm. The consequence is that staff at these primary healthcare clinics are not cancer-minded, failing to ensure early diagnosis of all cancers at this level of care. This results in weak referral systems, with poor provider-patient understanding impacting negatively on prompt diagnosis, and on timeous referral to tertiary level treatment and care.
SO WHAT DO WE NEED?
- Properly planned cancer service delivery models focused on making early diagnosis, treatment and care more accessible to rural cancer patients and their families.
- Innovative transport solutions for cancer patients who need to travel long distances to access care.
- Accommodation for patients and family support at tertiary treatment centres.
- Special cancer social support grants for patients, their families and carers on arrival at treatment facilities.
- Special dedicated social protection for patients identified with social security needs.
4 MAJOR CHALLENGES
CHALLENGE 1: CANCER TREATMENT AND CARE OUTSIDE OF MAJOR URBAN AREAS
CHALLENGE 2: ADDRESSING THE PRACTICAL ISSUES
CHALLENGE 3: FINANCIAL AND SOCIAL SUPPORT FOR CANCER PATIENTS
CHALLENGE 4: MANAGING CANCER IN THE WORKPLACE