President Mnangagwa leads a Zimbabwean Government delegation to Russia, where they inspect various weapons on display. Meanwhile, back home, thousands of cancer patients are suffering from the lack of radiotherapy machines in the country’s hospitals. Zimbabwe has only one functional radiotherapy machine, located at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare1. The other four machines are either broken or outdated2. The cost of treatment at the only private facility offering radiotherapy, Oncocare Zimbabwe, is prohibitive for most Zimbabweans3. A radiotherapy machine costs about US$800,0004, but the government has not prioritized its procurement.
Similarly, Zimbabwe does not have a single heart bypass machine, which is essential for performing open heart surgery on patients with coronary artery disease. A heart bypass machine is a device that temporarily takes over the function of the heart and lungs during surgery, allowing the surgeon to operate on a still heart5. A heart bypass machine costs about US$1 million6, but again, the government has not allocated any funds for its purchase.
It is tragic that our leaders are fascinated with useless things like guns, while ignoring the urgent needs of the health sector. How many lives could be saved if they invested in radiotherapy and heart bypass machines instead? How long will Zimbabweans have to wait for quality health care?