The Cancer Unit at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo has finally been licensed and is ready for opening, about 17 years after its closure.
The closure of the unit forced people from the southern region to incur huge costs travelling to Harare and other countries for cancer treatment.
The cancer unit’s opening will reduce treatment costs for people in Matabeleland region.
Acting Mpilo clinical director Dr Xolani Ndlovu said they were now just waiting for the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s directive to officially open the unit to the public.
We got our licence on the 1st of March from the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe and we are ready to start serving members of the public. We finished painting the radiotherapy department to avoid radiation leakages.
“So far we are left with securing quality control equipment which we need before we can open it up,” said Dr Ndlovu.
“We have installed the main machine for the unit and since there are specifics for the other machine, we are working towards that as well. By the end of this week we will be done with everything.”
Recently, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa, toured the cancer unit and emphasised the need to make it safe for patients, hospital staff and members of the public.
“If there are radiation leakages from the radiotherapy department, people will be exposed to cancer and other grave health conditions. Radiation consists of several types of sub-atomic particles that shoot through space at very high speeds. They can easily penetrate deep inside the human body, damaging some of the biological cells which the body is composed of,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
“This damage can cause fatal cancers, or if it occurs in reproductive cells, it can cause genetic defects in later generations of offspring. It’s a long process with a lot of regulations that have to be followed at all costs.