WAG in partnership with SRHR Africa Trust (SAT) conducted a survey in 2018 to understand the gaps and challenges affecting women in accessing treatment for cancers of the reproductive systems. The objectives of the study; to assess the costs of cervical or breast cancer treatment in Zimbabwe at the major referral centres; to ascertain the accessibility and affordability of cervical and breast cancer treatment in Zimbabwe; and to build a case to support advocacy around free cervical and breast cancertreatment in Zimbabwe.
The study revealed most women cannot afford to pay for treatment services. The situation is even worse for women living in the rural areas which deters them from accessing the cancer treatment services. This therefore means that more women are affected considering that 62% of women in Zimbabwe live in the rural areas. The study concluded that womenin rural areas find it challenging to access the treatment services considering that the local clinics, district and provincial hospitals do not offer the treatment services. Therefore, centralization of treatment services hinders women to access the services since there are extra expenses such as transport, accommodation and food to travel to Parirenyatwa or Mpilo Hospital.
The study revealed the gaps in accessing SRHR services for women and came up with policy recommendations to ensure women are able to access treatment services for free in Government hospitals. This includes adequate financing to the Ministry of Health so they are able to offer comprehensive care and decentralise cancer treatment services to District Hospitals.