Harare Central Hospital’s Tariro Hostel which has been lying idle since 2007 has been re-opened following the intervention of several health-conscious institutions who mobilised resources to refurbish it.

The hostel was founded by the cancer association in 1974 to provide accommodation to needy, out of Harare patients who would be coming for reviews, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment sessions at Harare or Parirenyatwa Hospitals.

When the hostel was closed in 2007, cancer patients from outside Harare went through a torrid time as testified by some cancer survivors.

“Some patients come from remote areas and they struggle to find accommodation when they come for chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment because they do not have relatives in Harare, others resorted to sleeping on corridors, but we are relieved by this initiative,” a patient said.

Touched by the plight of cancer patients, some health minded institutions led by a local bank, started a Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiative, called USIZO-RUYAMURO which seeks to support and facilitate the growth and sustainable development of public health services in Zimbabwe.

Stanbic Bank board member, Valentine Mushayakara, said the initiative will bring together local and international entities who seek to contribute towards the support of Zimbabwean hospitals and clinics with a view to provide material and non-material support to Zimbabwe’s healthcare facilities for the benefit of the ordinary citizen.

“We are gathered to officially re-open the hostel today which was refurbished and furnished under USIZO-RUYAMURO and is the first project to be completed under this initiative. I am pleased to advise that it is the first of many and we look forward to accomplishing even greater feats with you all, together as one,” Mushayakarara said.

In a speech read on his behalf by Harare Hospital, Public Relations Manager, Mrs Juliet Chikurunhe, Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Obadiah Moyo said cancer has become a serious public health concern.

“According to the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry 2016 report, a total number of 7 265 new cancer cases were recorded among Zimbabwe of all races in 2016,” the speech revealed.

The re-opening of Tariro Hostel has kick-started one of the biggest health services provision initiatives in the country, but the appeal is for government to work on decentralising cancer treatment services so that patients do not travel long distances to access health services.