Treatment for some cancer patients at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) has been halted for over a week, following the breakdown of one of the radiotherapy machines of the hospital.
The KBTH has only two radiotherapy machines serving thousands of cancer patients referred from various hospitals across the country, but at the moment only one machine was currently functional, leaving hundreds of patients booked to receive treatment from that particular machine stranded.
Investigations conducted by the Ghanaian Times revealed that the said machine broke down on Monday, September 19, and as of Tuesday, September 27, the machine had still not been fixed and cancer patients were still being turned away.
Some of the cancer patients in separate interviews with the Ghanaian Times expressed worry over the situation, fearing it could cost them their lives.
They, therefore, called on the Ministry of Health to intervene as a matter of urgency by allowing authorities at the radiotherapy centre to put them on the only functional radiotherapy machine instead of making them wait for more days.
Madam Sarah Ampofo, a 37-year-old mother of four, said she had been put on a 25 cycle of radiotherapy after taking chemotherapy for the treatment of an invasive type of cancer and was on her eighth round when the machine developed a fault.
She said knowing very well the nature of invasive cancers, she feared she could suffer a reoccurrence of the disease because of the default in treatment.
“While we are waiting for this machine to become functional again, cancer is not waiting to spread, our lives are at risk, I have been through hell with chemotherapy and surgery and just when I am about to complete treatment look at what is happening,” she lamented.
Another patient who pleaded anonymity told the paper that she travelled all the way from Sunyani in the Bono Region for chemotherapy every three weeks until she completed that phase of the treatment for her cancer, however, because of the distance she was currently lodging at a hostel on the premises of the hospital until she is done with the radiotherapy which was done on a daily basis.
She bemoaned that after spending so much money for her treatment there was no hope she would survive the disease because of the halt in treatment for more than ten days now.
She stressed that she feared for her life “because this is not how radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer must be,” adding that since the second machine was working it was only right for the hospital to make them join the long queue of patients put on that machine instead of letting them wait for an unknown day the faulty machine would be fixed.
According to her, everybody deserved to be given a chance to beat and survive cancer, adding that the manner in which the hospital authorities were handling the matter showed they had given up on cancer patients on radiotherapy at the facility.
Hajia Halima Abdulai, who has been put on radiotherapy as part of treatment for cervical cancer, said she came all the way from Tamale, Northern Region, for her treatment and was still residing in one of the hostels near the hospital hoping the radiotherapy machine would be fixed soon.
She lamented that she paid GH¢50 each day as fees for the hostel, adding that the situation was making her condition worse.
When contacted, a representative of the Public Relations Department of KBTH, who gave her name as Ms Beatrice Arthur, confirmed the situation but refused to give further details on the issue until an official letter was brought from the Ghanaian Times office requesting for information on the matter.
“The head of the department is not available and I cannot give you further details or call any other person who can speak on behalf of our boss until you bring us a letter from your office indicating the kind of information you want from us,” she stressed.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU