Cancer treatment funds run out for Swazi patients

June 30, 2011 By PHATHIZWE-CHIEF ZULU , Associated Press

(AP) -- Swaziland's government has run out of money to send its cancer patients to neighboring South Africa for treatment, and a spokeswoman said Thursday the tiny impoverished kingdom does not have any government hospitals that can provide chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Some patients already have been forced to suspend their treatment because money has run out for them, said Zanele Nkambule, secretary of the Cancer Association of Swaziland.

"Once radiation or chemotherapy is started the patient has to finish all the six or eight cycles," she said. "If you break the cycle, when the disease recurs it will be more aggressive."

Health department officials said they could not say how many patients would be affected by the shortfall.

Department spokeswoman Zanele Dlamini said that Swazi government hospitals do not provide chemotherapy or , and she did not know of any private hospitals in the kingdom that provided such services.

Nomsa Msibi, president of the Cancer Association of Swaziland, said all that doctors can do in Swaziland is take samples - even the specimens must go to South Africa to determine if there is .

The U.S. State Department on its website says that medical facilities are limited in Swaziland and that emergency medical capabilities, including ambulances, are almost nonexistent. It advises U.S. citizens to get care in neighboring countries for anything other than a minor procedure.

The wrenching news for comes as Swaziland faces an because of the worldwide recession and a drop in customs revenues.

The are also limiting the availability of medication in the country with the world's highest percentage of people living with HIV/AIDS. More than a quarter of Swazis between the ages of 15 and 49 are believed to be HIV positive.

Health Minister Benedict Xaba told parliament earlier this week that Swaziland's state hospitals only have about a two-month supply of . More than 60,000 Swazis depend on antiretroviral AIDS drugs, known as ARVs, distributed free at government hospitals.

Swaziland is seeking international loans to cope with its financial crisis, which also comes as a pro-democracy movement has gained some ground in recent months in Africa's last absolute monarchy. Activists have criticized King Mswati III for living lavishly while most Swazis live in poverty. He also is accused of harassing and jailing pro-democracy activists.

shares

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

Novel CRISPR-Cas9 screening enables discovery of new targets to aid cancer immunotherapy

July 19, 2017
A novel screening method developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center—using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to test the function of thousands of tumor genes in mice—has ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.