​As treatment machines collapse nationwide
LAGOS— Thousands of cancer patients are currently facing death nationwide, following a breakdown of all the radiotherapy machines at treatment centres in the country.
The development, which has persisted for years, has become unmanageable in the last few weeks as a result of alarm raised by patients and their relatives who throng the centres daily.

Vanguard gathered that the cancer machines at the National Hospital Abuja, NHA, Lagos University Teaching Hospitals, LUTH, University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, including others in health institutions in Gombe, Enugu, Benin, Sokoto among others, have been breaking down frequently due to wear and tear  and lack of maintenance.
Findings revealed that managements of the affected hospitals are complaining of lack of money to buy forex and bring foreign experts to fix the machines.
For all the people, who have oncology problem today in the country, they may have to wait for a long time for their treatment to continue.
An oncology expert said a radiotherapy machine was the device commonly used for external beam radiation treatments for patients with cancer, adding  that it was better for an oncology patient not to get radiation treatment than to get half dose or incomplete dosage.
He said: “If somebody is getting a radiation treatment and breaks, the cells will now build immunity and bounce back.”
At the NHA, it was gathered that the new Lineal Accelerator Machine procured in 2014 is still intact in the crate and there are fears that they may have gone bad under the condition they are kept.

Some of the patients who were in Abuja and LUTH said they had been turned back at three other tertiary hospitals where the cancer treatment machines had broken down.

Lamenting the excruciating pains they were going through, the patients feared they might not survive the ordeal as they could no longer tolerate the pain.
A patient at NHA disclosed to our reporter that his family was making plans to fly him to India for further treatment.

The patient said:  “I may have to travel to India, where I can continue with the treatment. I was diagnosed in Sokoto State, but I was referred to Gombe State for radiotherapy sessions when the one in the state stopped working.

“I got to Gombe but their machine had broken down too. I was referred to the UCH, Ibadan, theirs was also not working.  I came to LUTH on Monday, they said their machine is faulty. They told us they are working on it but for how long will we continue to wait?”

In a telephone interview with the Chief Medical Director, LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, who admitted that the machines had been down for about two weeks, said it was a national problem.

Bode said: “For about two weeks now, no radiotherapy machine is working in Nigeria, because all the seven machines procured during the VAMED era  at the end of their life span. They are no more being produced by the companies that produced them.’’

Reacting on the condition of the machine at LUTH, he said: “We are working to repair it.  We have brought engineers within 48 hours of breaking down.  They are working on it, they are almost through, they needed some machine parts that we have ordered and they will come in very shortly.”

‘’It is a national problem. I am happy that the government, through the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, is working hard to give us a robust radiotherapy programme within the country.
‘’We have repaired them and they keep breaking down.  I am not an engineer; I don’t know when it will be ready. It is an old machine, it will break down from time to time.  We know it will also break down again. The machine is old.”

Also in a telephone chat, Chairman, National Programme on Cancer Management, Professor Francis Abayomi Durosimi Etti, who confirmed the situation, said there was palpable fear in the land over the fate of cancer patients, with the complete breakdown of all radiation machines in the country.
“It is so sad, it is a pity and it is a shame and I actually feel ashamed because all over the world we have so many machines even in one hospital compared to all the faulty ones we have all over the country,” he added.

Source: Vanguard News

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.