12 December 2018

Namibia: Cancer Machines Operational

RADIATION machines that have been broken down for the whole of October at both the Windhoek Central Hospital and the Katutura Intermediate Hospital have officially been operational since 1 November.

The health ministry's permanent secretary, Ben Nangombe, confirmed this last week.

It was reported that the cobalt-60, which is used to treat cancer cells in patients with ovarian cancer, small cell lung cancer, skin lesions and skin cancer, among others, was not working at the two hospitals.

In addition, the X-ray department at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital was also broken, with patients being referred to the Windhoek Central Hospital for treatment.

Nangombe said spare parts were needed to fix the machines, although he could not say what could be done to prevent the same situation from happening again.

"It is very difficult to say because as we know, machines are equipment, and one can never predict what might happen," he stated.

Nangombe also explained that there is a difference in equipment like a cat scan machine and a sonar, both belonging to the diagnostic department, while the equipment being referred to now belong to the therapy/radiotherapy department.

At the time that the machines were broken, patients had to be sent home as appointments could not be kept, whilst technicians had to be brought in from South Africa.

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