Sad tales of cancer fighting mothers inside Parirenyatwa’s children’s oncology ward

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By Darlington Gatsi

PRECIOUS Chitakatira sits beside a hospital bed at Parirenyatwa hospital, as she silently fights her son’s battle.

It is a battle that began last year when Chitakatira’s four year old son was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cancer.

The diagnosis was a curveball that turned Chitakatira’s life in an unexpected direction.

She had to travel 140 kilometres from Chiweshe to Harare last year in the hope that her child could get treated.

“My child has ALL. I came here with my son in December last year. In Chiweshe where the full blood count is done is far and I saw it better to come here in Harare so that if there are complications they can be dealt with here. I would incur other costs if he is admitted there,” said Chitakatira.

ALL is a blood cancer that is common in children which starts from white blood cells in the bone marrow.

People suffering from ALL are prone to diseases as the body cannot fight away infections and diseases.

Due to poor health facilities in Chiweshe, Chitakatira visits Parirenyatwa Hospital periodically for Full Blood Count and subsequent treatment.

Facing a similar challenge, Mellissa Mutambidzanwa had to travel from Bulawayo to Harare for ALL cancer treatment for her sister’s child.

Mutambidzanwa puts on a brave face as she recollects her predicament.

“I am here for my sister’s child who was admitted here in January. We are basically living here with our children who are suffering from cancer.

“When I came here I had no hope of the child getting better but things are looking up. The challenge I have is that there are children who need my care but I am here. Some people discourage me saying cancer is an incurable disease the child will die but that has not deterred me,” said Mutambidzanwa.

Zimbabwe’s health care system is in tatters with few machines to treat cancer available.

The few available machines are either out of service and do not cater for cancer patients in the country leaving many in quandary.

Local beverage company Schweppes Zimbabwe delivered an assortment of goods to the KidzCan bringing joy to cancer fighting young children at Parirenyatwa oncology ward.

The goods ranging from groceries, beverages and toys ameliorate the plight and bring joy to many children battling cancer.

Parirenyatwa’s sister in charge for the oncology ward Patricia Mareyanadzo hailed the gesture.

“We are grateful that someone was thinking of us and someone loves us. It goes a long way. We are also grateful we are not isolated as health workers,” she said.