Swiss Based Technicians To Fix Radiotherapy Machines Soon: Health Minister

TECHNICIANS from a Switzerland based company Varien are expected in the country soon to fix the broken radiotherapy machines at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

This was said by Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo at the launch of the Phase 3 China-Zimbabwe Maternal and Child Care, Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment Project at Parirenyatwa. With all the machines across the country’s public health institutions grounded, there was an uproar from Zimbabweans blaming Government for neglecting cancer patients.

But Health Minister assured that they are working flat out to address the situation.

“My Ministry is doing everything possible to ensure that those screened and found to be in need of treatment get the necessary treatment,” he said.

Dr Moyo said payments have been made. “My ministry is doing everything possible to ensure that those screened and found to be in need of treatment get the necessary treatment. I am well aware that the radiotherapy equipment at public hospitals, is not working and my Ministry has already intervened and availed the required resources.

“I am reliably informed that payment to the suppliers, in the case of Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, has already been processed and we are now expecting the engineers any time soon. We are as a Ministry also working on modalities to ensure that cancer treatment goes on without any hindrance at both Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and Mpilo Central Hospital where the equipment is found,” he said. “We were told the machines at Mpilo needed an Uninterrupted Power Supply system which was big enough to fill a room and this is currently being fixed at the moment.”

About US$10 million was availed for the procurement of five radiotherapy machines from the Swiss based company Varien. With Parirenyatwa Hospital having three of these machines and Bulawayo’s Mpilo Hospital getting two, each machine required roughly about US$53 000 for repairs.

Briefing the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Gender in March, Parirenyatwa consultant oncologist Dr Webster Kadzatsa said they long to see other machines work at their hospital.

“Zimbabwe is among the 28 countries with these radiotherapy machines. We secured about US$10 million from Government which was earmarked for the procurement of these machines.

“At Parirenyatwa we have three machines and at Mpilo there is one. Here at Parirenyatwa some of the machines worked for a while until in 2016. What happens is that the manufacturers of these machines want to do the servicing themselves,” he said.

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