Cancer Diseases Hospital
Cancer Diseases Hospital

Dear Editor,

“I lost my nephew in October this year, he was 5 years old . The way UTH Cancer Ward treated our case as well as the things we saw and experienced there has shaken my faith in God because in the end I believe its God who had the final say.

Everything was so slow from diagnosis to blood transfusions, medication, such deplorable and inhumane service . I witnessed a kid who moaned and groaned in pain for 2 whole weeks day and night before succumbing to death. Our patient who happens to be a twin was in stage 4 cancer. There was no morphine available for pain relief and it took them weeks to prepare his chemo. I don’t even know why they bothered because it only made his suffering far much worse. He died screaming.

There is so much death at the Cancer hospital at UTH, I don’t even understand what purpose it serves. Apparently there’s only one Oncologist to attend to hundreds of patients and most of them don’t stand a chance of survival.

I am still trying to get over the pain I experienced. It wasn’t just about our boy but every single patient and bedside carer who go through hell waiting even years to receive treatment and hope. I haven’t seen anyone who had survived the Acute Bay. Counseling sounds like a joke. The blood bank is full of anarchy and there’s a bunch of frustrated staff.

We got so much more love and support from other patients and their families. They were there for us and helped us out of the hospital at 23hrs when we finally had to leave. They just don’t prepare you for the progression of the disease and how bad its going to get. No child should die screaming in pain. The Ministry of Health in Zambia is a joke. All they care about is clean sheets and scrubbing floors.”

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Heart wrenching account of your experiences. All those in public services that have put money in their pockets that is meant to go to improving facilities at our health institutions have blood on their hands! You and your families will never enjoy that stolen money but you will always hear the cries, groans and moans of dying children whom you have robbed of their lives. Prepare your beds in hell for you will indeed lay on them. Your beds of fire will be flowing with lava .

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    • There is nothing as horrible as losing a loved one late alone a child before ones eyes. I lost my Dad 10 years ago in what I still believe was negligence from the nurses at UTH. The doctor left instructions for some blood test to be done, we provided the bottles to collect the samples, a day later this was not done and we found the bottles, empty on a table in a side room. The doctor was upset with the nurses but sadly we lost him same evening. However I donated blood at blood bank last year, and I found the staff there to be good and very professional. Perhaps it depends who you find

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    • Survival in Zambia is only by the grace of God. There is so much carelessness with lives in this country, the elite do not even waste their time going to these public health facilities because they know that the services are pathetic.

      I mistakenly walked into the ICU in one of the hospitals, I almost cried. The place was dirty, let alone the bad smell. The blankets in the ICU are like the ones used by prisoners. From the ICU, I went to the toilets, I failed to urinate the first time because the toilets were in a very bad state, I had to force myself to urinate as I was really pressed.

      If this complaint is not taken seriously, then all of us will face the same situation. I hope those in charge will look at this Ministry again because it is not serving any purpose in Zambia at the…

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    • Sadly, that’s what Zambia has become after 50 odd years of independence. A joke. Everything we do is jokes from the way we vote to the way we handle serious matters such as health. Jokes.

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    • “When HAZALUZA HAGAIN becomes president no child shall die screaming and Zambia shall be like Germany!” UPND INCOMPOS Group 4s.

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  2. I tend to identify with what younandbyour family went through at the cancer hospital. I lost a sister two years ago and my experience at the said institutions wasn’t any better then! The staff at the cancer hospital need to put their act together. If they feel this isn’t their calling, the right thing to do is seek greener lastures elsewhere other than being the conduits of death and not hope.

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  3. Sorry about that. When we speak strongly about what health delivery has turned into under Chitalu Chilufya it’s not because we hate him or want to jeopardize his ambition to succeed Edgar. This is what we mean and I wish to end there

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  4. Many people will identify with your situation. It’s disheartening at our hospitals in Zambia. The state of affair for health in Zambia has been deteriorating for a long time. A lot of times our leaders try to change the image without real investment in what matters. Especially under Dr. Chilufya the focus has been more quick legacy achievements so that he can succeed Edgar but things are getting worse. Our health care needs long term thinking, accountability and serious investment.

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  5. This is unfair on patients, staff and relatives! It demonstrates the folly of centralizing everything! Fifty-five (55) years after Independence, we should be talking of a UTH in each provincial Capital! You mean to say we can’t afford to have a minimum of Ten (10) Oncologists placed in each Provincial Hospital? We should also be talking of having at least a CT and MRI scan in each Provincial capital! The colossal expenditure on the 42 Fire tenders was more than enough to place a CT scan in every District hospital across the country! When you get all cancer patients across the country in one place, it overwhelms the staff, relatives and patients to see so much suffering at the same time and it compromises optimization of care! Instead of decentralization, we are still centralizing…

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  6. Sad we all are going through this. The ministry of health is a joke in deed. Unfortunately it’s the star of the current government. Sad!

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  7. the account is detailed and very disheartening. Death bring with it lots of hurts that sometimes we have to live with all our lives.
    Surviving from death where my friend sacrificed his life to save me in a drowning experience I only realise death comes when it’s ordained to come. we can and really do blame those around where it’s happening but no human person can avoid it, no amount of technology can stop it and no amount of love or care can delay it.

    I only believe that God does not see any of His children die; God sees his children coming home. We all have to face it one day. We need our commitment though to help the sick and the dying. I feel with you in your pain.

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  8. UTH cancer hopital is everything a cancer hospital shouldn’t be. Or any hospital for that matter. Just when you get there, you are confronted by an orderly who just gives you a three month appointment date, regarless of the condition of your patient or whether they have been referred by any doctor from any far off plcae in the country or not. They don’t care withether or not you have relatives around in Ludaka to go to after they send you back.

    If you finally are able to get the chance to get in, you will be met by horrible staff, not only hostile but also very sadistic. The treatment equipment is inadequate and scores of very ill people have to line up by 04hrs. If you get to the queue at 6 am, you will be there until 1630 pm. Transfusions can only be gotten through bribing someone…

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    • I doubt it. They know, they drown our cries with Jameson, cognacs and all sorts of luxuries

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  9. It is clear where the money has gone and is going.

    This is the direct consequence of defunding healthcare under the guise of ‘market based solutions’, non-taxation of the mines to ‘benefit foreign investors’, and having politicians who are financially and ideologically bought off by the IMF and neoliberalism.

    This has been repeated for over a quarter of a century now. It’s time to switch gears and start representing the people, instead of the corporations.

    Visits to the Woodrow Wilson center won’t do it.

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  10. (BLOOMBERG) Next Africa: A Nation on the Brink

    “While President Edgar Lungu’s party is putting its political considerations first,”

    Right, because not cutting social services is putting political considerations before the interests of the IMF bankers…

    “the economy is imploding.”

    That’s what happened to every country that followed IMF austerity in the last 45 years (Chile in 1973 is an example).

    “Inflation near 11% has been accelerating for eight months and is well above target.”

    That’s because not taxing the mines devalues the currency. Not taxing the mines and taking on debt instead of collecting taxes has destroyed it. Very predictable, including by the IMF/World Bank. In fact I remember listening to a Zambian radion program years ago on which one of the…

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  11. Continued…

    In fact I remember listening to a Zambian radion program years ago on which one of the guests said ‘They’re taking the currency apart’. And of course, what is one of the IMF’s main policy goals? Currency devaluation. Why? So they can replace the world’s currencies with their own currency. And Zambia ist the petrie dish to see what happens when they do.

    “The kwacha is the world’s fourth-worst performing currency this year. Daily power cuts last 18 hours after a drought drained hydroelectric dams, and there’s not enough money to import more energy.”

    “The IMF issued a curt statement last week. Economic performance is likely to be the lowest in more than two decades and urgent budget adjustments are needed, it said.”

    ““There isn’t a likelihood of an IMF…

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  12. Continued 2…

    ““There isn’t a likelihood of an IMF program anytime soon. To me that implies the government is not willing to put forward the policy reforms needed to correct the fiscal path,” said Yvonne Mhango,”

    And…

    ““It doesn’t look like they will be able to pull themselves back from the brink.””

    “Back then reserves were at a record $3.9 billion and the nation could spend more than $1 billion on fuel and electricity imports and supporting the currency. Now the coffers are empty.”

    That’s because in 2015 the resources had not been depleted by not taxing the mines and taking on Eurobond debt at I believe 9% interest, instead.

    Zambia needs a party that will break with the IMF and put the interests of the people first. Let the IMF publicly justify why there is…

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  13. Continued 3…

    Zambia needs a party that will break with the IMF and put the interests of the people first. Let the IMF publicly justify why there is no morphine in cancer hospitals. Let them finally be held to account.

    I kind of like HH, however he is a neoliberal. Lungu et al don’t seem to have the intellectual backbone to even conceive an alternative to IMF austerity and economic destruction.

    Breaking with the IMF/WB/Glencore/Anglo-American oligarchy is the only way out.

    1. Nationalize the mines.
    2. Issue a copper currency – copper won’t lose it’s value anywhere near as fast as a fiat currency under attack from the IMF/WB/Neoliberal politicians. And owning copper mines, the government can issue currency whenever it’s needed.

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