A CANCER treatment centre, which opened its doors to the public in Harare this week, has invited Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader Morgan Tsvangirai to come and receive chemotherapy treatment at the multi-million dollar facility.
Tsvangirai is currently receiving treatment for colon cancer in South Africa.
The world-class cancer treatment hospital was established by a group of local medical practitioners, some of them having recently returned from abroad.
Offering treatment for all types of cancers, the facility has a sophisticated system that allows it to consult with other cancer specialist doctors — known as oncologists — from around the world.
Oncocare chief executive officer, Ben Deda, said they were extending an invitation to Tsvangirai and other cancer patients who are currently receiving treatment outside the country to start accessing the facility.
“We have the latest technology and offer the same services that cancer patients get anywhere in the world. We therefore are inviting him (Tsvangirai) and other cancer patients who are going all the way to South Africa and India to come and get treatment here,” he said.
“One would be cutting costs by getting treated at home. Remember they are losing money on air fares, accommodation and food when they travel outside the country for exactly the same treatment they can get here,” he said as Tsvangirai flew to South Africa for his treatment on the same day.
Tsvangirai’s spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka, said he would make inquiries and pass the information to Tsvangirai when he comes back.
“I did not know about the hospital. He flew to South Africa just today (Tuesday) for treatment. I will make inquiries and pass on the message to him when he is back,” he said.
Oncocare, situated in Newlands, Harare, becomes Zimbabwe’s first exclusive cancer hospital.
Previously, cancer was considered a death sentence for the majority of patients who are poor while the rich would make expensive trips to countries such as India, South Africa, Malaysia and the United Kingdom, spending thousands of dollars in the process.
“We will make cancer treatment affordable in the country. Definitely it will be affordable than going to South Africa, India or the United Kingdom,” said cardiac and thoracic surgeon, Munyaradzi Rumhizha.
He said bringing cancer treatment home would help save a lot of lives since many previously failed to complete the rigorous treatment regime since it is not a once off treatment.
“The treatment is a continuous process. Once you start the treatment you have to continue with the treatment, so if you start going to India you will be going there for further management. Not a lot of people can actually afford flying to and from India for treatment,” he said.
“Cancer treatment is a continuous process and it needs to be done in the comfort of your home and at times you need family support and we will be able to offer that family support,” he said.
Rumizha added that Oncocare would be receiving patients who are already on chemotherapy and getting treatment from abroad. The state-of-the-art cancer centre is dedicated to offering cancer treatment and screening, cancer research and education in Zimbabwe.
The new facility has the ability to offer unique multidisciplinary oncology treatments in a more comfortable and convenient setting in a bid to deliver personalised cancer therapies and providing new hope to more than 7 000 patients in Zimbabwe diagnosed with cancer every year.
Dade said the centre would be offering holistic treatment and compassionate services with well trained local staff members who are highly degreed trained in different countries.
The facility is dedicated to offer sub-specialties in cancer care which include radiation treatment (2D, 3D, IMRT), medical oncology (chemotherapy) with dedicated hospital mixing pharmacy, treatment support (immunity support, palliative care, pain management) and a specialist cancer retail pharmacy.