Today is a particularly significant day for the IFP, it is a day that we hold close to our hearts. Today we are reminded of our commitment to the health of all South Africans, and our fight against that most dread of diseases, Cancer. February 4th is World Cancer day.

The IFP knows all too well the grief of losing someone to this horrific disease. Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, MP, who was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 lung cancer, valiantly championed the cause of alternative and innovative research into cancer treatment before his death, in the hope that advances could be made in this field.

On 19 February 2014 he took a stand in the National Assembly and introduced a private members bill, one which, if enacted, would provide the legislative framework for all South Africans to have access to a variety of innovative cancer treatment regimes, not just those prescribed to us now by for–profit big pharmacy corporations.The Medical Innovation Bill PMB1-2014 makes provision for innovation in medical treatment and access to such treatment available to all South Africans. This was Mario’s last gift to a nation he so dearly loved.

Today, this Bill rests on the shoulders of the very capable IFP Chief Whip in Parliament, Mr Narend Singh, MP, who immediately re-introduced the Bill after Dr Oriani-Ambrosini’s passing in 2014, and who is currently spearheading deliberations on the Bill so as to ensure that it has every prospect of success through enactment into law.

“If a particular innovative treatment regime is found to work in the fight against cancer, it should be readily available to all,” said Singh, MP.

We are reminded today that in championing the Bill the late Dr Oriani-Ambrosini said:

“What this paperwork [Bill] stands for is the proposition that there is no rational argument for continuing to deprive medical marijuana to people like me who need it, It is a crime against humanity not to allow that to take place.”

It is for this reason that on World Cancer Day we will continue the fight to save the lives of many.