Cancer survivors petition Parliament over services

Uganda Women’s Cancer Support Organisation (UWOCASO) has appealed to the government of Uganda for its committed support to cancer control and management services in the country.
According to the Uganda Cancer Institute Annual Report 2010-2011,
Uganda is registering an increase in cancer cases to epidemic levels due to the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of Ugandans and consumption of foods which predispose the population to cancer.
The report also reveals that the presence of infection related cancers such as Hepatitis B, HIVAids, HPV (Human papilloma virus) which are responsible for the rise in cancer cases, and account for 60 per cent of all cancers.
According to Rebecca Kiziri Mayengo, the chairperson of UWOCASO, a recent visit and investigation at the Cancer Institute in Mulago hospital showed that Uganda has limited treatment facilities and equipment for the treatment of cancer considering the number of patients who go for the treatment.
In a petition presented to the speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Wednesday, Mayengo said, “There is one cancer treatment centre (Uganda Cancer Institute) with limited capacity where majority of patients sleep in corridors and on verandas during their treatment. There is also one cobalt radiotherapy equipment in one outpatient clinic at Old Mulago, yet cobalt machines have been banned worldwide because they are dangerous to human health.”
She added that the institute serves people from all over the Great Lakes region including patients from Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, and Western Kenya as well as Uganda, but the equipment breaks down frequently.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Government of Uganda that has put cancer into management and control, such as building the new cancer institute, supporting the budget and subsidising cancer treatment. However, we request that it speeds up the process of installing the necessary equipment, urgent training and recruiting of staff for cancer care and treatment and integrating supportive and palliative care in the scale of cancer care to improve on the quality of life of cancer patients,” Mayengo added.
According to World Cancer Research Fund, cancer affects about 14.1 m people globally 7.4m cases were in men and 6.7m in women. If no effort is made to fight cancer, this number is expected to increase to 24m by 2035.
According to its annual report 20102011, the cancer institute registers 60,000 cases, of which 27,000 are incidental show ups. The risk of cancer before the age of 75 is 17.8 per cent.The report predicted 80,000 cases by 2015.
Currently there are 2000 new cases at the institute per year and that is only 4 per cent of the cancers in the country.
UWOCASO was founded in 2004 by breast cancer survivors and has grown to aocating for all cancer types. It aims to ensure that women adopt practices of self-examination, regular screening and early reporting for better cancer diagnosis and treatment.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor


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