Zim cancer patients left without treatment

Zimbabwe’s only radiotherapy machine in the capital, Harare, has been broken down for several months, leaving many cancer patients without treatment.

Breast cancer patient Tendai Gwata told the BBC’s Focus of Africa Bola Mosuro that technicians who would usually be flown in to fix the machine cannot do so because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Critics of the government accuse it of under-sourcing the health sector and the country’s health minister was detained on Friday for alleged corruption.

There is a machine that is working in the country’s second city of Bulawayo, which is about 450km (280 miles) from the capital.

But Ms Gwata says travelling for cancer patients amid the pandemic is not advised.

 I’m feeling very hopeless at the moment, very very hopeless.”

Ms Gwata has had to stop radiotherapy – meaning her treatment so far may not be as effective and her doctors are looking at an option of a mastectomy.

 I have to plan about losing a body part that I had reconciled about not losing so its not a great place to be right now.”