16 June 2017

East Africa: U.S.$34 Million EAC Cancer Facility to Be Set Up in Uganda

Kampala, Uganda — East African Community Member States have chosen Uganda to host the East African Oncology Center of Excellence, a $34 million facility that will treat all cancers within the region.

"Cancer is a big challenge to Nationals from within the East African Community region, the disease requires joint effort because treating it is very expensive.

"On many occasions, cancer patients have been forced to travel abroad to especially India where they can get quality services but, with the establishment of the regional center of Excellence this will empower the regional medical oncologists to do more research about cancer," said Dr. Jackson Orem the Executive Director of Uganda Cancer Institute.

The EAC Oncology Center of Excellence will be among other centers of excellence, the EAC has established within the region.

The community has established the regional center of excellence for treating of Kidney related diseases in Kenya, Tanzania will host all Cardiovascular complications , Burundi will handle Nutritional related diseases while Rwanda was chosen to host Biomedical Sciences.

The construction of the facility is expected to last for two years and by mid-2019, the East African Oncology Center will be in operation.

Orem said once the center commences its operations, it will reduce the cost of treating cancer

"Since all forms of cancer will be treated at the facility as compared to the current situation where most cancer patients have been seeking specialized cancer treatment from abroad."

Orem said the disease is still a big challenge especially to Women and Children noting that over 500 people (Children and Women) are losing their lives due to cancer associated complications.

He disclosed that the Institute with development partners are working tirelessly to see that there is enough infrastructure and professional medical personnel to offer cancer testing and treatment.

"Most cancer patients are dying because of delaying to detect the virus earlier and sometimes we can't blame them because there is limited Government facilities offering the free screening and testing of cancer.

He said the Institute is planning to decentralize cancer treatment where they will establish regional cancer treatment centers that will help save people's lives.

Some of the proposed centers where Ugandans will be accessing cancer treatment include Mbale Hospital for Eastern Region, Mbarara Hospital, to cater for Western Gulu Hospital for Northern among other centers which will be established in the due course.

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