BY VENERANDA LANGA
MATABELELAND South Senator Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday called for the capacitation of Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo, which was built by the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo when he was suffering from cancer.
Moyo said this in Senate yesterday while contributing to debate on a motion on the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on cancer control and treatment in Zimbabwe.
“While government is doing its best to provide facilities, I know that at Mpilo and Parirenyatwa hospitals there is a disturbing development in terms of
facilities for cancer treatment,” Moyo said.
“The late Umdala wethu Nkomo was disturbed about this disease, cancer, and so he built a hospital so that our people do not go outside the country for
treatment, particularly when it comes to cancer.
“He passed on saying ‘I am going, but have not even had access to my hospital’.”
Moyo said it was sad that at the moment, Ekusileni Hospital was a white elephant.
“It will be vital for this Senate to really take it upon itself to say we want that hospital opened. We want it equipped and we want it to have experts as the
founder wished, because I do not believe he will rest in his grave when we are treating such a good effort as what we are witnessing today,” he said.
The Senator, who is also the Zanu PF spokesperson, said while Ekusileni Hospital was falling apart, people were dying of cancer.
“It (cancer) can take any form, and it does not matter which part of the body. Unlike other diseases like HIV, cancer is a silent killer. But in most cases,
the affected come to know that they are afflicted by this disease when it is now at a very advanced stage, rendering it very difficult to access a complete
cure,” he said.
Recently, Health minister Obadiah Moyo told Senate that over 5 000 cases of cancer of all types are diagnosed in Zimbabwe annually.
He, however, also pointed out that this was only the tip of an iceberg as many cancers were not being captured by the routine national health information
system because patients did not present themselves for treatment or to register deaths.
Sharda Group of Institutions, an Indian investor identified by the government to open Ekusileni Medical Centre after a number of false starts, early this year
said it was recruiting key staff in preparation for the re-opening of the hospital.
The specialist hospital was built in 2001 and later shut-down in 2004.
The government, through its Transitional Stabilisation Programme, last year pledged to open the specialist medical facility in two phases, beginning in January