Monday, October 26, 2020

GPH cancer patients’ lives on a knife-edge

Scores of cancer patients’ lives at Gaborone Private Hospital are on a knife-edge as the only radiation machine in Botswana has broken down Cancer Association of Botswana said on Friday.Reports indicate Botswana and Namibia are negotiating to bring experts from South Africa to come and repair the machines without going through COVID 19 protocols.

The general manager of Gaborone Private hospital Mpho Gabonewe confirmed the radiation machine has broken down admitting it has caused a problem to cancer patients. He said the private hospital is working around the clock to address the situation.

“At the moment the hospital has identified a certain engineer in Namibia to come and fix the machine and the engineer expected to arrive soon,” he said. Gabonewe added “this is a highly specialized equipment that needs highly skilled engineers who are rarely not found in our country instead such engineers have to be sourced outside the country.”He said the ministry of health and wellness is aware of a problem and trying possible ways to assist “As you might be aware there are travel restriction globally and both Botswana and Namibian governments are negotiating on how the engineer can be flown into the country without observing COVID19 protocols as soon as possible.”  

Gabonewe added that he is hopeful that the engineer would arrive as soon as such negotiations have been completed. The executive director of Cancer Association of Botswana Boitumelo Ndebele said the association is aware of the radiation machine that has broken down. She said the association is concerned about the health patients as this may lead either to death or complication. She highlighted that one major problem is not helped by COVID 19 which has worsened the problem as COVID 19 protocols have to be observed.   She said cancer patients in the country are growing and most of the patients are not on medical aids and they rely on government.“It is unfortunate that Gaborone Private Hospital is the only hospital in the country that such a machine. I appeal to the private sector to come on board and donate such machinery to government because cancer affects us all,” said Ndebele.    

Princess Marina hospital superintendent Dr Tshepo Machacha said even though the machine might have broken down the lives of the patients are not endangered and they should not worry much.He refuted allegations that suggest that patients have been returned home without any assistance.Patients are being given something while waiting for the machine to be repaired. However most the patients who opted for anonymity for fear of victimization said they fear that they might lose their lives if the machine is not fixed as soon as possible.They claimed that Princess Marina has told them that there is nothing that they can do to serve their lives.

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