UCI Unveils Grand Plan To Avail Sophisticated Cancer Treatment To Reduce Health Revenue Export From East Africa.
Written by Derrick Asaba on August 19, 2021
The Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) is currently constructing the East Africa Oncology Center of Excellency, which the Institute is optimistic to reduce the health revenue flight out of the East African region once completed.
This was revealed by the Uganda Cancer Institute Public Relations Officer, Christine Namulindwa as she informed the public about the Cancer care services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Once this center is fully functional, it will reduce the health revenue flight out of the East African region as it is anticipated that individuals who have been seeking highly sophisticated cancer treatment in developed countries will come to the UCI,” Namulindwa said.
This center will see the capacity for cancer care, training and research increase in Uganda, the East African region and beyond.
UCI is carrying out different fellowships at the Institute, including the Pediatric Oncology fellowship for childhood cancers, Medical Oncology and Hematology fellowships for cancers in adults, and Gynecologic Oncology fellowship for Women cancers which is geared towards building capacity to manage cancers.
The laboratory will have a fully-fledged microbiology laboratory, a hematology and transfusion laboratory, immunology, molecular oncology, pathology, chemistry, and genomics laboratories.
This will expand the already existing facilities to offer world-class cancer care as noted by Namulindwa.
“At the moment, 198 cancer experts are being trained in different fields to diagnose and manage cancer, undertake cutting edge cancer research and offer training in cancer across the country with support from the African Development Bank,” further revealed, Namulindwa.
The Uganda Cancer Institute has also received support from the African Development Bank and the Government of Uganda to establish a National Reference Laboratory for Cancer which will go a long way in improving cancer diagnosis but also support the diagnosis of other diseases such as COVID-19 and other non-communicable diseases.
Over 7,000 cases are registered at UCI which is an estimated 15% of the national incidence, with the rest of the patients not able to access cancer care due to cancer services being a very long distance away from their homes and limitations by other social-economic barriers.
In a bid to bring cancer services closer to the population, the government of Uganda has decided through the UCI to bring these services to the people.
The parliament approved 7.5 million Euros on October 6, 2020 for the construction and operationalization of this project named the UCI Northern Uganda regional cancer center in Gulu funded by the Austrian government.
“This center upon completion and operationalization, will not only cater for treatment need but also aims to reduce the number of preventable deaths each year by raising cancer awareness among the general public and also carrying out research,” Namulindwa said.
As an additional effort, UCI is also working on procuring new machines that are very advanced in technology which will help in transforming the Institute into the East African center of excellence it deserves to be.
“The government is training more personnel in cancer and also putting together more resources to train more medical personnel to be able to serve the ever-growing numbers of the cancer patients in the country,” Namulindwa noted.
The commonest cancers are breast and cervical among women, leukemia and lymphomas among children, prostate among men, and Kaposi’s sarcoma among men & women combined.
60% of these cancers are infection-related in Uganda. Unlike in the developed world, where cancers are majorly due to lifestyle changes, here they are basically about infections.
Uganda Cancer Institute is a government entity mandated to spearhead National Cancer Control in the Country. It is the largest cancer treatment center in East Africa and the only pediatric cancer Centre in Uganda.