Silavwe Jackson, President of the GPZ (Global Peace Zambia), has called for an immediate freeze on the salaries and allowances of high-ranking government officials, including the President, cabinet ministers, and senior government officials.
President Silavwe said that the funds redirected from these salaries are proposed to be allocated to address the pressing issue of cancer treatment equipment in the country.
He said that Zambia is currently grappling with a significant cancer crisis, witnessing an annual average of 8,672 cancer-related deaths and 13,831 new cases, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
The strain on the healthcare system is exacerbated by equipment breakdowns at the main cancer hospital and the exorbitant cost of cancer treatment, president Silavwe noted.
Silavwe Jackson emphasized that, at one time, Zambia was a regional hub for treating cancer patients from neighboring countries, but now the situation has reversed, with Zambia sending patients abroad due to the insufficient capacity and functionality of the main cancer hospital in Lusaka.
He stated that the urgency to address this crisis is underscored by the stark reality that being diagnosed with cancer in Zambia currently feels like a death sentence.
The call to redirect funds from salaries towards the procurement and repair of cancer treatment machines at the main cancer hospital comes at a time when the government has allocated resources for other projects, such as purchasing vehicles for constituencies, he noted.
The plea also advocates for increased investment in local cancer research to find homegrown solutions and remedies.
Additionally, he calls for the government to make cancer treatment more affordable and accessible for all, recognizing the profound impact of the disease on families and communities.
While the construction of two additional cancer treatment centers in Ndola and Livingstone has been included in the 2024 national budget, President Silavwe questions the rationale behind such expansion when the main cancer hospital in Lusaka is currently operating below capacity.
As the nation grapples with the devastating effects of cancer, Silavwe Jackson concludes with a call to prioritize the urgent needs of cancer patients, redirecting resources to ensure that no one is denied proper treatment due to financial constraints.