Hope for patients as Mpilo Hospital plans to open cancer treatment centre next month
MPILO Central Hospital cancer treatment centre is expected to open next month, giving hope to patients from Matabeleland provinces who were being referred to Harare for treatment.
A Cancer Computed Tomography (CT) scanner and a cancer treatment machine have been installed after lying idle for the past four years at the hospital’s Radiotherapy Centre.
Hospital authorities are now waiting for a licence from the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe for the centre to start operating.
Failure to make use of the equipment that was donated by the Government saw cancer patients in the southern parts of the country all flocking to Harare for treatment and reviews.
Bulawayo MPs and provincial leaders toured the Radiotherapy Centre on Wednesday to get an insight into the cause of delays in opening the centre.
Mpilo Central Hospital CEO, Mr Leonard Mabandi, said starting next month, cancer patients in the southern region will not have to travel all the way to Harare for their treatment. He said they were now only waiting to be licensed. “Our machinery here will always be functional as we have a contract with our suppliers that when there is a breakdown they will fix it for us. Therefore the cancer treatment machine will always operate and save all cancer patients in their numbers,” said Mr Mabandi.
He blamed the hospital’s previous board for the delays in installing the equipment.
Former Deputy Speaker of the Senate, Cde Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu, who is also a prostate cancer patient, was present during the MPs’ tour.
He said he was not the only cancer patient in Bulawayo but some have since died as they could not afford to get treatment.
Cde Ndlovu said he has to contend with frequent trips to Harare for treatment, yet there were machines in Bulawayo.
“The late VP (John) Nkomo had cancer and had to go to Cape Town when we had qualified doctors here with machinery. Now that the machines have been installed, the people from Victoria Falls, Beitbridge, and Gwanda will all come here for treatment and save costs,” he said.
“We are like smart toddlers here in Bulawayo because we do not cry in fear of bothering those in leadership. We had machines but we never questioned why they were not being installed.”
Cde Ndlovu said he faces difficulties and incurs huge expenses travelling to and from Harare to get treatment.
He said as leaders, they owe the people of Bulawayo an apology for not doing anything about the late installation of the cancer treatment machine.
Pelandaba-Mpopoma MP, Cde Joseph Tshuma, said the cancer treatment machines at Mpilo Central Hospital arrived at about the same time as those at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare.
He said it was worrisome to note that the machinery in Bulawayo had not been working, yet the one at Parirenyatwa Hospital have been functional. He said the opening of a new centre in Bulawayo was going to save lives in the southern region as people have been dying of cancer due to lack of money to be treated in Harare. — @cchikayi.
Zanu-PF MPs and officials tour the cancer treatment centre at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo on Wednesday