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Hope for cancer patients

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HEALTH and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera on Wednesday told the House of Assembly that the government was in the process of revitalising cancer treatment institutions like Mpilo and Parirenyatwa Hospitals.

REPORT BY SENIOR STAFF REPORTER

The announcement follows reports that many Zimbabwean cancer patients have to access treatment in South Africa due to lack of equipment in the country’s referral hospitals.

Madzorera was responding to a question by Kadoma Central MP Editor Matamisa who wanted to find out government’s policy position with regards to assisting cancer patients.

“At the moment, we have serious constraints in terms of cancer treatment,” Madzorera said.

“We have just started revitalising our cancer treatment institutions at Parirenyatwa Hospital and Mpilo Hospital and the state over the last 10 years has not been good.”

He added: “We are just in the process of installing new equipment at Parirenyatwa Hospital and Mpilo Central Hospital. In other words, it has not been possible to assist cancer patients. Many patients have been going out of the country for radiotherapy and chemotherapy.”

The minister said chemotherapy was extremely expensive and Cabinet was trying to look for ways to make cancer treatment and that of other chronic diseases like renal failure free of charge.

“We are looking at innovative financing mechanisms for cancer, but remember that at this stage, we are still struggling to provide the ordinary routine day-to-day care for our patients.”

On HIV and Aids anti-retroviral drugs, Madzorera was asked by Mutasa North MP David Chimhini to inform the House on whether there were enough stocks for adults and pediatrics.

He said there were enough stocks up to 2015, but government was now facing a problem that the drugs might expire before they were used up.

“We have at hand Tenofovir/Lamivudine and Nevirapine regimen seven months of stock. For the Stavudien/Lamivudine/Nevarapine regimen, we have 26 months of stock.

For the pediatric ARVs, we have eleven months of stock at hand. We are currently finding ways of disposing some of our ARV stocks for pediatric patients because we will not finish them. In such instances we have to collaborate with neighbouring countries who want these stocks,” Madzorera said.

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