Cancer patients want oncologist at MZCH
Members of Cancer Association of Malawi (Cam) have asked Ministry Health to consider deploying an oncologist at Mzuzu Central Hospital (MZCH) so that patients with cancer access quality services.
According to medicinenet.com, an oncologist is a physician who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Cam Northern Region Chapter Secretary Sibongile Tembo said in an interview many cancer patients travel to
Blantyre and Lilongwe to access health service because MZCH has no
specialists in the field.
Tembo, who is also a cancer survivor, said she bleeds inside to see patients who come from rural
areas languish in pain only to be assisted with surgical doctors because they cannot
manage to secure transport to travel to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre or Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe to access better services.
“I would love to have oncologists or an Oncology Department at Mzuzu Central Hospital to be assisting
cancer patients or survivors. Nurses that are currently assisting cancer patients are carrying a very heavy
burden to look after us and they have a lot of work to consult from Blantyre and Lilongwe. Nurses are
helping us but without an oncologist, they are limited in their assistance. This is a big challenge which needs serious attention,” she said.
She said cancer patients from the Northern Region are Malawians who pay tax; hence, they
deserve proper health service just like any other Malawian in the country.
Ministry of Health Public Relations Officer Adrian Chikumbe has not responded to our questionnaire despite
reminding him several times.
Authorities at MZCH did pick our phone calls. But health activist Maziko Matemba said it is sad that some patients with cancer are deprived of their rights to access quality health service.
Matembo said health facilities in the country need specialists in different fields so that they provide quality
health services to the citizenry.
“As a country, we just need to look at such challenges seriously and ensure that we solve them; otherwise, it is only a healthy person who contributes positively to the development of the country,” Matemba said.
According to International Agency for Research on Cancer Report, in 2020, Malawi registered 17,936 new cases of cancer and 12,454 people died of different types of cancer-related diseases.