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.

PinkDrive NPC, a significant player in the gender related cancer sector, has joined forces with the national departments of Health (DoH) and Social Development (DSD), to bring critical screening to the Eastern Cape, where health care facilities require support to accommodate these additional screening services during COVID-19. Funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 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 to the indigent communities of Alfred Nzo and Nelson Mandela Bay areas.

UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem explains; “COVID-19 is testing the international community. Yet UNFPA’s work with governments, partners, UN agencies and donors is continuing, and ramping up. Business continuity plans are in place at all levels, and our commitment to serving the most vulnerable and hard to reach is stronger than ever. But we need to do much more to ensure that the most intimate, yet essential, needs of the world’s women and girls are met while we battle COVID-19 during the challenging months ahead.”

The Eastern Cape Province is mostly rural and widespread and although the health facilities are available, some communities find it difficult to reach these services due to social-economic and transport issues.   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 will be providing gender based  cancer screening services, as well as HIVAids, TB, and Diabetic Screening, Covid-19 Screening and Testing   in Alfred Nzo Health District including Mount Frere Madzikane Kazulu Memorial Hospital, Maluti Taylor Bequest Hospital, Bizana’s St Patricks Gateway, Tabankulu Community Clinic and Mt Ayliff Hospital.  Following which they will spend a week providing the same services to the Nelson Mandela Metro Health District including Kwazakhele Clinic, Kwa Zakhele’s Mabandla Clinic, Du Preez Street Clinic, Despatch, Helenvale Clinic and Chatty Clinic. The non-cancer services will be done in collaboration with our partners.

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.

For more information, please contact:

Noelene Kotschan
CEO and Founder PinkDrive
083 460 6146

Ziyanda Ngoma
Programme Communications, Advocacy and Partnerships, UNFPA
072 299 0868