Zambia: National Solidarity Building Around Former President, Bwezani Banda after he is Diagnosed with Cancer

Zambia’s Fourth Republican President, Rupiah Bwezani Banda has disclosed that he has been diagnosed with cancer of the colon. Following the release of the information, the country’s President, Edgar Lungu wished Mr. Banda a quick recovery as he fights the deadly ailment.


“As surviving former presidents of our nation, Your Excellency, Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda, and His Excellency, Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, you are always sources of inspiration for me. I, therefore, wish you quick recovery as you battle cancer," The President wrote.


According to a statement availed to Timescape by the Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public relations, Isaac Chipampe, President Lungu hailed Mr. Banda for disclosing his current health status to the nation. That is a mark of love for the country and its people and we all should respond by wishing him well,” Mr. Lungu noted.


Mr. Banda, 83 said he was moved to make this announcement taking into consideration that he remained indebted to the people of Zambia who accorded him an opportunity to serve the nation.


“Although this is a personal and private matter, which was initially only known by my close relatives…the Zambian People, who honoured me with the privilege to serve them as Head of State, for which I will remain forever grateful and indebted, deserve to know that I have been diagnosed with cancer of the colon,” he said in a statement.


Mr. Banda has clear he is set to face his battle against cancer with grace. He pointed to his wife, Thandiwe who survived cancer as a great source of inspiration and comfort.


“Most importantly as the nation will no doubt recall, I lost my first wife, Hope Makulu  Banda to cancer and as fate would have it, my wife Thandiwe Chilongo Banda is a cancer survivor, therefore, her counsel, encouragement and support, born out of her own experience after having successfully battled this type of disease is a great source of inspiration and comfort to me,” he wrote.


Mr. Banda has also disclosed that he has been receiving treatment from his Doctor, Dr. Shaleni Desai for some months now and acknowledged the assistance he has received from the government.


“Am very grateful to, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Edgar Changwa Lungu, for his personal support and that of the government in facilitating for my treatment,” the former President noted while appealing to Zambians for support, saying: “So, as I continue to battle against this terrible disease, I ask for your prayers and with the grace of God I will be able to overcome”.


The Dana- Farber Cancer Institute notes that colon cancer forms in the tissues of the colon, which is part of the large intestine. The colon is part of the body's digestive system, which is made up of the oesophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines. The first six feet of the large intestine is called the colon. The remaining several inches of the large intestine form the rectum.


According to the latest World Health Organization data published in 2018, Colon-rectum Cancers death in Zambia reached 274 or 0.25 per cent of total deaths. The age-adjusted death rate is 4. 50 per 100,000 populations. This ranks Zambia 145 in the world regarding deaths from colon cancer.


The World Health Organization (WHO) further indicates that cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018 with colorectal/ colon cancer accounting for 1.80 million cases and 862,000 deaths.