Uganda: Long Wait Over for 400 Cancer Patients

Some 400 cancer patients in Uganda have found relief after the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi signed a long-awaited partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute to provide them with free radiotherapy treatment.

The two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding to allow the 400 out of 17,000 patients to be receive treatment following the breakdown of the country's only machine at Mulago Hospital.

According to the director of the Uganda Cancer Institute Jackson Orem, the government has already paid for new cancer machines that are now awaiting shipment.

However, reports say that although the government paid $494,000 for a replacement three years ago, the bunker needed to house the new machine has never been built.

Waiting since April

The 400 sick patients have been waiting since April to get treatment after plans to have them airlifted hit a snag because finance, clinical and administrative issues had not been resolved, said Dr Orem.

"We are glad that all outstanding issues have now been ironed out and a clear procedure will be followed to ensure that Ugandan patients receive treatment from the the Aga Khan University Hospital," he said.

Uganda has about 32,000 new cancer cases and about 55 per cent (about 17,600) of these will need radiotherapy treatment, officials said.

Plans are also underway to start the Aga Khan University Hospital in Kampala.

Source: The East African