Rupiah Bwezani Banda writes:
AN UPDATE ON THE STATUS OF MY HEALTH
Following the first time I addressed the nation when I informed you that I had been diagnosed with cancer of the Colon, I wish to update you all on the events that followed.
From the outset I wish to first and foremost thank our creator and all mighty God for his continuous love, guidance, grace and for watching over me all the time.
After I was diagnosed with the cancer, I was seen by a group of hard working and dedicated medical personnel who decided that I will be put on 12 cycles of chemotherapy. It was a tough journey for me but knowing that my family, friends and the entire nation were there praying for my recovery gave me the added strength to persevere and fight through and complete the treatment as prescribed.
I have successfully completed my 12 cycles of chemotherapy and I am feeling much stronger and better. I continue to be reviewed by my team of doctors and they will tell me the way forward. At present I am enjoying the freedom from the dreaded side effects of the drugs and the hospitals.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency the President and my brother, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu and Madam First Lady Mrs Esther Lungu for their never-ending support and prayers. I am grateful for all they have done for me to get better. God Bless you Your Excellency and your entire family.
I wish also to thank the team of medical personnel that have worked hard to get me strong and feeling better. In particular the team from the cancer diseases hospital in Lusaka led by Dr Lewis Banda and Dr Msadabwe for their dedication, good heart and hardworking spirit during my illness. I remain forever grateful.
The Secretary to cabinet Dr Simon Miti and the teams from the Ministry of Health led by Dr Makupe and the State house team for their unwavering support and care for me.
The Doctors and staff of Kabelenga family hospital and Lilayi family Clinic for all their tireless effort to keep me comfortable and healthy during my many admissions and outpatient checkups there during my treatment for this cancer and other general checkups and treatments.
I will not be doing justice if I don’t mention my personal Physician Dr Shailen Desai who has been with me through thick and thin.
His dedication to duty and sacrifice to my personal wellbeing is greatly appreciated and acknowledged.
Last but not in the very least all you my brothers, sisters, children grandchildren and the entire population of this nation for all your good wishes and prayers, I remain forever thankful and grateful.
I and my family have gone through a lot in the last 12 months and without them by my side this battle would have been next to impossible. I remain forever indebted to them too.
I stand with all cancer patients in Zambia as I know what it takes to fight this ugly disease. My prayers and best wishes go out to you all.
I have pledged to work hard within my abilities to see how I can request the Government and the private sector to find ways to fund and improve the access to the much needed chemotherapeutic drugs for the treatment of all forms of cancer and also the advanced diagnostic equipment like PET scan. Even from my hospital bed this had been the one thought that continued to cross my mind.
In this regard I earnestly appeal to the corporate world to join me in creating a platform where we can together generate funds through donations and fundraising ventures to help patient’s access the much needed care for their cancers.Together we can achieve a lot.
As I conclude I wish to urge each and every one of you to take screening for different cancers very seriously. We have many hospitals both public and private in Zambia that can screen for these cancers.
With the coming of the National Health Insurance under NHIMA and the enrolling of many public and now am told private health care providers too, these screening services can be widely accessed. Of note are breast cancer which requires self-awareness and examination and screening radiological and blood testing, cervical cancer which requires a PAP smear, Prostate cancer which requires a blood test and examination by medical personnel, Colon cancer which requires a colonoscopy and many other cancers that may be screened for. This early detection allows the medical personnel time to intervene quickly and help you with even total elimination of the illness.
In these times of the COVID 19 pandemic I urge you all to follow the public health guidelines of wearing a mask appropriately and always, washing your hands with soap and running water, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer, practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings so that we may safe guard the lives of the elderly and vulnerable citizens with underlying illness like cancer and others.
Once again thank you all and God bless you all and our Mother Zambia.