Chiwenga: ‘Zim only has five cancer machines and there are not enough’
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who doubles as the Minister of Health told Parliament that the whole country with a population of more than 15 million has only five cancer machines and there are “not enough”.
Zimbabwe’s health system is one of the most under-serviced sectors of the country’s struggling economy. Most public hospitals and clinics survive on donations with little funding from the government.
Healthcare workers are receiving low wages and most of them are now seeking greener pastures in other countries.
The country’s 2022 national budget failed to meet the Abuja Declaration of allocating 15% of the total budget to health.
Asked by Kuwadzana East MP Chalton Hwende in the National Assembly, about government policy regarding the shortage of cancer machines in public hospitals, Chiwenga admitted that the country had only five cancer machines and they were not enough.
“We have five cancer machines which are working and they are not enough. We have done our shopping list as we discussed and agreed with the Ministry of Finance in order to address all our hospitals in terms of equipment.
“Some of the equipment was dilapidated and some were now no longer compatible with the times. We have to standardise all our equipment so that even if we transfer a professional from Plumtree to Mutare, he will not have a problem.
“They will have the same type of equipment and this way, we can guarantee our citizens that wherever they will go, they will be attended to,” Chiwenga said.
The former Army General further stated that he delayed coming to Parliament trying to resolve issues of hospital equipment.
“I delayed coming here because this was exactly one of the issues which we were discussing on equipment, including the cancer machines for our people because cancer is a non communicable disease but it has now become one of the major killer diseases.
“We never thought kids could be affected by cancer but we are now having young kids being affected by cancer and we need to address the issue because it is not everyone who has got the money to send kids outside the country for treatment.
“We have to do it here and we have got the experts. All what they have been missing has been equipment. This is a matter which we have discussed seriously with the Ministry of Finance and we have now presented our list of all the equipment to them which we want to put in all our hospitals.
“Currently, we have got five machines working and we are aware that they are not enough,” he said.
Investigative journalist and documentary maker Hopewell Chin’ono has repeatedly belaboured the point that the amount of money being allegedly stolen by Zanu PF elites was actually more than enough to buy the required machines.
In February this year he tweeted: “Zimbabwe has only 5 cancer machines in all its public hospitals. None of the cancer machines is working. So Zimbabwe DOESN’T have a working cancer machine.
“Only US$100,000 is needed to fix them. But it is routinely LOOTED! Cancer is the biggest killer disease in Zimbabwe,” he tweeted.
He however clarified sometime this week that;
“Zimbabwe has 5 linear accelerator machines, also known as Radiotherapy cancer machines. 3 are at Parirenyatwa, 2 are at Mpilo hospital, NONE of these 5 machines is working.
“These machines deliver external beam radiotherapy to cancer patients. I repeat, they are ALL not working!” he added.
“Years ago I told Zimbabweans that ZANUPF MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena brought a Lamborghini and didn’t pay duty for it. The taxpayer lost over US$400,000 on duties alone.
“The car was also bought using looted public funds. There are many like him in ZANUPF, and records are there,” Chin’ono explained.