COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the screening and treatment of non-communicable diseases such as Cancer and Diabetes as well as communicable diseases such as HIV/ Aids and TB. While the lockdown bought some time to bolster health resources, it is now setting up South Africa for even greater mortality from non-COVID illnesses.
Vuma, one of South Africa’s top fibre providers, has partnered with PinkDrive NPC, a significant player in the gender related cancer sector, to bring cancer screening services to the communities of Chatsworth and Phoenix where health care facilities require support to accommodate these additional screening services during COVID-19.
The funding from Vuma will allow PinkDrive to take their Mobile Women’s Health Unit to provide screening and education for gender related cancers including Breast, Cervical and Prostate cancer as well as HIV/ Aids, TB, Diabetic Screening and Covid-19 Screening and Testing in collaboration civil society groups and the provincial department of Health.
“We’re a fibre technology company that believes in creating opportunities for ordinary people to do extraordinary things,” says Lianne Williams, Head of Marketing. “Our mantra is, ‘if we can, we must’, and this is the golden thread that runs through everything we do as a company. We want to connect people and communities – empowering people through access to resources that will improve their lives is an important priority for Vuma, so the PinkDrive initiative is incredibly close to our hearts.”
“PinkDrive’s primary beneficiaries are the indigent and medically uninsured woman and men of South Africa. Citizens living in rural, township and semi-urban areas across South Africa, are of highest priority. Since inception, PinkDrive has made a meaningful impact in the lives of South Africa’s less fortunate citizens. Our impact on the fight against cancer is dependent on our ability to keep our teams mobile and in the community doing screening and testing. To do this we need ongoing funding.” Shares Noelene Kotschan, CEO of PinkDrive.
PinkDrive’s Mobile Women´s Health Unit in the form of a fourteen-ton truck is described as a Doctor´s Room on Wheels. The unit boasts a state-of-the-art gynaecology area for pap smears and examinations, a reception area for administration and a radiology area. The unit turns into a Cancer Powerhouse that enables PinkDrive to simultaneously tackle the two most prevalent female cancers – breast and cervical cancer by offering cervical cancer screening, mammograms, clinical breast examinations and for the men, Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer.
About 105,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in South Africa every year. It is estimated that due to lockdown a third of people are not reaching cancer screening services. If a third — or about 35,000 people — are not picked up through screening and referred for treatment, the cost of COVID-19 will be far greater than the number of people who die from it.
PinkDrive’s unerring mission mirrors that of the NDoH to prolong lives through the prevention of illness, disease, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles, and to consistently improve the health care delivery system by focusing on access, equity, efficiency, quality and sustainability.