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Parirenyatwa Hospital cancer treatment machines down for two years, lawmakers told


Harare (New Ziana) – Cancer patients continue to fork out huge sums of money for treatment in the private sector as Parirenyatwa Central Hospital’s three radiotherapy machines have not been working for the last two years, legislators heard on Tuesday.

The Portfolio committee on Health and Child Care, which is on a tour of the country’s cancer units, was told during a visit to Parirenyatwa Hospital on Tuesday that radiotherapy units have not been working for more than two years now.

Parirenyatwa Hospital is one of the only two government centers that offer radiotherapy.

“We have three external beam radiotherapy machines which are very old, they have outlived their lifespan and they are due for replacement,” the hospital’s acting chief medical officer,” Dr Tsitsi Magure told the parliamentarians.

“Unfortunately we have sad situation in the radiotherapy department. All these three radiotherapy machines are not working for the past two years we have not been able to offer radiotherapy in our unit,” she said.

She said the hospital is unable to offer the more effective HPV and Pap smear services for cervical cancer due to lack of laboratory support.

Fortunately, courtesy of Angel of Hope Foundation’s mobile unit, Parirenyatwa has been offering mammography screening since March this year.

“Our own mammogram has not been working for the past 15 years and we have not been able to buy or replace it,” Dr Magure said.

Head of oncology, Dr Nothando Mutizira said when fully operational, the hospital would give 16 000 radiotherapy sessions annually but those patients are now stranded.

At least 60 percent of all cancer patients need radiotherapy as part of their treatment.

“We would give over 16 000 radiotherapy sessions per year. So you can imagine what has been happening in the past two years where the machines have been down,” she said.

Parirenyatwa has the largest radio oncology centre which is supposed to offer cervical cancer screening and treatment of other cancers.

Committee chair, Hwange East MP Daniel Molokele urged authorities to be innovative and not wait for government intervention.

“I was here last year in March and practically went through the same experience. Nothing is changed. You can not complain for 15 years while no service is provided and patients are dying. Think outside the box,” he said.

New Ziana

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