Advocacy Toolkit #8
– THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF POVERTY
South Africa’s health system is dysfunctional, mostly thanks to the country’s history of discrimination based on race and gender. The current provincial healthcare system is focused on a primary care model that only makes provision for cervical and breast cancer in the Ideal Clinic Algorithm. The consequence is that staff at these primary healthcare clinics are not cancer-minded, failing to ensure early diagnosis of all cancers at this level of care. This results in weak referral systems, with poor provider-patient understanding impacting negatively on prompt diagnosis, and on timeous referral to tertiary level treatment and care. 
Massive inequities in cancer care are a harsh reality – between provinces, between rural and urban areas, and even within cities themselves. 
And the poor are the ultimate losers, especially in respect of cancer, where timely diagnosis and treatment are paramount.
WHAT WE NEED
- Properly planned cancer service delivery models focused on making early diagnosis, treatment and care more accessible to rural cancer patients and their families.
- Innovative transport solutions for cancer patients who need to travel long distances to access care.
- Accommodation for patients and family support at tertiary treatment centres.
- Special cancer social support grants for patients, their families and carers on arrival at treatment facilities.
- Special dedicated social protection for patients identified with social security needs.