Hope for pa­tients as Mpilo Hospi­tal plans to open cancer treat­ment cen­tre next month

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Crys­ta­bel Chikayi

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

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