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Resources a major setback to cancer treatment


HEALTH and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa has blamed lack of resources for causing the country to lag behind in the provision of radiology cancer treatment.


Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa
Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa

Speaking at the official opening ceremony for the IAEA (AFRA) Regional Training course on Quality Management in Radiotherapy in Harare yesterday, Parirenyatwa said the use of radiology as a means of controlling the spread of cancer was met with many limitations, chief among them being lack of sufficient resources.

“So many factors need to be considered to ensure quality radiotherapy treatment and these include, but not limited to availability of trained and qualified personnel, careful equipment selection that considers the unique country needs and available skills as well as robust policies and procedures,” he said.

Parirenyatwa called for member states’ active involvement in the choice of relevant technology with regards to cancer treatment as well as the technical know-how of the specific technology so as to ensure better treatment outcomes.

“Let us not sit back and be recipients without taking part in the decision-making process. Many countries are faced with the challenge of having equipment they cannot operate nor conduct simple diagnosis of faults . . . Let us also not lag behind technologically, but aim to offer the best that we can with what we have for our cancer patients,” he said.

Parirenyatwa, however, commended the little progress that was evident in the country as well as in some countries in Africa.

He noted the retooling exercise by the government for public hospitals with funding for procurement of new linear accelerators and brachytherapy (a type of radiation therapy in which radioactive material sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters is placed directly into or near a tumor) equipment without donor support.

The Health minister also emphasised the need to establish strong governance and quality management systems centres within the country in order to enhance quality service delivery, while protecting patients and workers from the risk posed by the technology and ensuring prolonged economic life-span of the machines can be reached.

“We eagerly await the first crop of medical physicists. We are hopeful that these initiatives will be able to supply the required competencies and also support other countries in the region and beyond,” he said.

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