“Sometimes I’m scared of falling asleep because I don’t know if I’ll wake up the next day.”
These were the creepy words of Zuziwe Mdlulwa, who said on Tuesday that she was on the waiting list for cancer radiation at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital for 16 months.
Mdlulwa was diagnosed with cancer in June 2019. She finished her chemotherapy but said she hadn’t had a single radiation session and has been on the waiting list since her diagnosis.
“Even the smallest headache makes you think of death. I don’t enjoy life because I’m scared of dying. ”
Mdlulwa said that although she was on the waiting list, the hospital gave no indication of when she would be treated.
< p> “They tell me they will call me when it is my turn,” she said.
Mdlulwa was one of the health activists who marched to the office of Gauteng Prime Minister David Makhura for a memorandum with calls for improvement to deliver health services to cancer patients in the province.
The march was led by Cancer Alliance, Section27 and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).
The Chair of the TAC Sibongile Tshabalala Province said it was sad to see cancer patients die before they received treatment. She said the health services had reached a crisis level.
“People don’t want to go to hospitals and clinics because of poor service. Once there, they get Panado. What will Panado do for a cancer patient?”
Tshabalala said health activists were turned into unskilled nurses and doctors because patients came to them for help.
“They don’t want to go to hospitals anymore because they see hospitals as morgues They believe they will not return alive. ”
Salomé Meyer of the Cancer Alliance asked the Health MEC, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, to go with activist groups if they see an improvement in health care in the province Meyer also asked the MEC to set up a task team to ensure that the needs of cancer patients are met.
“This team must be made up of experts who have researched cancer and its treatments r stand. We don’t want to see the same situation where cancer treatment equipment is bought but never used because people bought it like they were buying photocopiers, “Meyer said.
According to Meyer, radiation equipment was made for the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, but was in a storage room as it cannot be used as there was no bunker for the machines.
“If these machines worked, they could have relieved so much pressure on Charlotte Maxeke, “she said.
Mokgethi accepted the memorandum on behalf of Makhura, apologized to cancer patients for the long waiting lists and said her department is doing its best to better serve cancer patients in Gauteng. < / p>
“To show that we are caring, we opened a full oncology department in Bara and Charlotte Maxeke has started palliative care,” Mokgethi told the protesters.
She said that Department work on one plan to see more hospitals offering radiation treatment as Charlotte Maxeke was the only one who does in Johannesburg.