Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls reporter
MS LUCIA Ndlovu, 47, from Jambezi, outside Victoria Falls, could stare death in the face if she can’t get the money for six injections prescribed by doctors to treat cervical cancer.
Ms. Ndlovu is a single mother of six who previously worked as a boiler maker for the Hwange Colliery Company before being diagnosed with cervical cancer last year.
She was bedridden and doctors prescribed six injections before she could undergo chemotherapy.
Each injection costs approximately $ 180.
Ms. Ndlovu can hardly speak or do anything herself or her paternal aunt. Ms. Estele Neshavi took care of her at home and accompanied her on her numerous hospital visits in Hwange and the Mpilo Central Hospital.
Unfortunately, she has no money for the drugs, and her case is similar to that of several other women facing similar problems, and her condition is getting worse day by day as they struggle to get the money needed for the six injections and other immunity-boosting drugs to raise.
Some are struggling to find transportation to get back to their respective locations and stay in Isagogwana Ward, a cancer patient ward at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo, while waiting for their next appointment.
A news team spoke to Ms. Ndlovu’s aunt Ms. Neshavi and other women with similar conditions when they asked for financial assistance to cope with their conditions, which are at various stages of development, some of them in the fourth phase.
“She was bedridden and we are carrying her around as she cannot move. We also feed and bathe her as she is very weak. It started last year and doctors said it was still in the cervix and hadn’t spread outside or to any other parts of the body.
“She needs between six and eight injections before chemotherapy can be given. So far she has had one and we are back home trying to raise money for the second injection. We appeal to everyone who can help us save their lives, ”said Ms. Neshavi.
She said the family is struggling financially and her husband needs about $ 750 for surgery after developing a prostate disease that makes it difficult to urinate and is now using a tube.
She cares for two patients at home.
According to health experts, cervical cancer is a malignant tumor of the cervix or the lower part of the uterus.
Cervical cancer can be caused by long-term human papillomavirus (HPV) infection when the virus is transmitted from person to person during sexual intercourse, air pollution, ultraviolet radiation, obesity, genetic disorders, lack of physical activity, alcohol use, and alcohol consumption Tobacco and cigarettes and an unhealthy diet without consuming vegetables or fruits.
The most common symptoms are irregular vaginal bleeding, sometimes between menstrual periods or after sex, back or pelvic pain, unusual vaginal discharge.
Women over the age of 20 are usually at high risk of contracting cervical cancer. Therefore, health professionals recommend regular screening with Pap smear or HPV tests.
Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women between the ages of 15 and 44 in Zimbabwe. It accounts for 25 percent of all cancer cases and is one of the leading causes of death in Zimbabwean women, accounting for 23 percent of cancer-related deaths.
According to Dr. Constantino Chiwenga, Minister of Health and Childcare, who was screened in his most recent World Cancer Day commemoration speech in his World Cancer Day speech in Zimbabwe on February 4th annually.
According to the World Health Organization, there were 9.6 million cancer-related deaths worldwide in 2018 and 70 percent of deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries like Zimbabwe, where 2,751 people died of cancer in 2016.
The government is working to update the cancer prevention and control strategy in Zimbabwe so that citizens in certain age groups must be screened for cancer and men must also be tested for prostate cancer.
Treatment includes surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is offered at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo and the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare.
The theme of this year’s World Cancer Day was “I am and I will work for the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer” and called for the participation of all world citizens in the fight against the deadly disease.
Most of the diagnosed patients spend more money on injections to boost blood levels and immunity before they can be treated, and some eventually succumb from being unable to raise the money.
Ms. Attilia Siziba, a traditional healer from Mzola in Lupane, is another cancer patient who is struggling to get money for a second injection.
Her condition started as a tumor in her stomach in 2017 and had two operations.
The cancer has moved to stage four and she has to raise $ 185 for the second injection due next week.
“I started bleeding last December and they removed the cervix because it was badly damaged. I am waiting for the third injection that I have no money for and I am in pain. I would like to ask people to help me until I finish the injections in September, ”said Ms. Siziba, who is staying with her husband in her rural home while her only son lives in South Africa.
Ms. Catherine Moyo of West Nicholson has had cervical cancer for three years and started treatment last year.
Her daughter Ms. Thembinkosi Moyo (32), a saleswoman, says her mother has been bedridden for months.
“She can’t do anything and we take turns helping her. We are struggling to get money for the injections and we fear she may default as she has to choose her fourth. We need about $ 300 every month including transportation and life has not been easy because we have to leave work to accompany her to Mpilo. Doctors said the cancer harmed them. She is due for her next appointment next week on Thursday, but we have not received any money so we are asking for help and we are also thinking about contacting doctors and asking for a postponement, ”said Ms. Moyo.
Ms. Angeline Ncube, 48, of Plumtree recently left Isagogwana to return to her rural home after failing to raise the required funds. She suffers from back pain and bleeding that continues.
Her husband lives in South Africa and she said he has ignored her messages since she told him about her condition last year.
She said she needed $ 185 or R2,000 for the injections.
Ms. Janet Ngwenya, 54, from Ntabazinduna, who is in Isagogwana, said she was bleeding constantly and given three injections to allow her to undergo chemotherapy.
For Ms. Grace Musimeki, who was transferred from Masvingo to Mpilo, the pain she suffered from cancer was literally passed on to her son Kin, 25, who was taking care of her in Isagogwana.
Kin did the unthinkable, according to his mother, as he is the one washing and cleaning her blood discharge.
“The doctors told me I had stage 2 cancer and I couldn’t raise money for medication. It has developed to stage 3. I came to Mpilo and they prescribed two injections that were $ 72 each. My personal life was swollen and they recently took me for chemotherapy because of my condition. Now I’m fighting to get money for the drugs I need.
“It’s hard for me and my son Kin now purifies my blood every time I bleed because I can’t run or work,” said Ms. Musimeki, whose two other children are minors in school.
Gynecologist Professor Solwayo Ngwenya, who is also acting executive director of Mpilo Central Hospital, said cervical cancer is common in women in Africa while most people show up late when it is difficult to treat.
“Most people have cervical cancer at an advanced stage, when we cannot operate, and they have to undergo palliative care such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. There are injections that have been prescribed and patients have to have them because if not, treatment will be delayed, ”he said.
Prof. Ngwenya urged women who are HIV positive to be screened every year and those who are not between 25 and 65 years old every three years. – @ncubeleon.