SA: Statement by the Department of Health, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi appoints Ministerial Advisory Committee on the prevention and control of cancer in South Africa (16/04/2013)
Published 17 Apr 2013

The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Gwen Ramagopa had today, Tuesday 16 April 2013, officially opened and led discussions of the inaugural meeting of the newly appointed Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Prevention and Control of Cancer in Pretoria.

The Minister of Health, Dr A P Motsoaledi appointed experts in the field of cancer to advise his Ministry on matters related to the National Prevention and Control of Cancer Programme in accordance with Section 91(1) of the National Health Act. The committee comprises all related sectors including researchers, academia, epidemiologists, survivors and civil society and representatives from the Private Pathology Laboratories, National Health Laboratory Services, the Department of Health and Statistics South Africa. Jointly they will contribute towards achieving optimal prevention and control of cancer by focusing on research, current trends in cancer and innovative prevention and treatment interventions.

In their first meeting today, the committee elected Professor Vikash Sewram, Director of Oncology Research Unit at Medical Research Council and also Director of the Cancer Research Initiative in South Africa as their chairperson with Kwanele Asante-Shongwe, founder of BreastSens Project DIGNITY, deputising him. All committee members will hold office for a period of three years and at the expiry of the term of office, a member may be reappointed for another two terms after the initial appointment term.

“It’s necessary for the department to have experts in cancer advising the Ministry of current trends in cancer and the most up to date prevention and treatment intervention,” said the Deputy Minister of Health.

Prof Cristina Stefan
Head of Hematology Oncology Department of Paediatrics and Child Health – University of Stellenbosch

Prof Paul Ruff
Professor and Head of Division of Medical Oncology – Wits; Chief Specialist and Head of Division of Medical Oncology – Charlotte Maxeke Hospital

Prof Raymond P. Abratt
Professor and HOD of Radiation Oncology, Groote Schuur Hospital and UCT

Dr Jennifer Moodley
Senior Researcher and Senior Public Health Specialist, Women’s Health Research
Unit – University of Cape Town

Nonthuthuzelo Somdyala
Senior Scientist, Burden of Disease Research Unit – MRC

Sue Janse van Rensburg
Executive Member of the Board of Directors and CEO – Cancer Association of South Africa

Emma Nomonde Belot
Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa

Dr Anil Bramdev
Head of Anatomy Pathology, Lancet Laboratories – KZN

Prof Johnny Mahlangu
Principle Haematologist, National Health Laboratory Services

Dr Elvira Singh
Public Health Specialist, National Health Laboratory Services

Prof Melvyn Freeman
Chief Director: Non-Communicable Diseases, National Department of Health

Dr Thabang Mosala
Director: Epidemiology and Surveillance National Department of Health

A representative is still going to be send by Statistics South Africa to add on the membership of the committee.

Cancers, together with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases are the leading global causes of preventable mortality and morbidity. The four priority non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs) are recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as causing 60% of global deaths, 80% of which occur in developing countries. However cancers also due to infectious diseases are especially prevalent in the country, and among others, cervical cancer contributes significantly to the burden of disease.

The recently launched report by Statistics SA on the Mortality and Causes of Death in South Africa, 2010 (April 2013), ranked neoplasms 6th among the main causes of death which increased from 5.9% in 2008, to 6.3% in 2009 and 6.7% in 2010