29 August 2017

Tanzania: Cancer Unit Appeals for Govt Financial Support

Photo: Mussa Mwangoka/The Citizen
Patients at the Kisiwani Mandagerenge Dispensary in Rukwa Region.

Mwanza — The Director of Bugando Medical Centre (BMC), Dr Abel Makubi, has requested the government to provide the cancer department at the hospital with subsidy.

Dr Makubi said last week that a lot of cancer patients were unable to raise money for treatment, prompting referral for most of them to the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI).

"Our department faces a shortage of drugs for cancer treatment and other treatment processes that BMC can provide at a lower cost or even provide them for free to the patients through support from the government," he said.

He told reporters here that reports indicate that over 50 per cent of the cancer patients visiting OCRI were from the Lake Zone.

Dr Makubi noted that the lowest cost for cancer treatment is Sh2.5 million, which most people from the Lake Zone, who are mainly farmers, cannot afford.

He pointed out that sometimes they were forced to borrow cancer drugs from the OCRI.

"It is high time for the cancer department here which began its operation since 2009 be provided effective treatment to the surrounding community," he said.

He was speaking during the inauguration of a health facility worth over Sh700 million, which is meant for offering treatment to patients enrolled with the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

The Member of Parliament for Geita Rural, Mr Joseph Msukuma, who also attended the launch of the building, said he would raise the subsidy issue at the next parliamentary sitting. Last year, plans were set for establishment of a radiation unit and cancer laboratory at the BMC at the cost of Sh4.836 billion.

The project was to be funded by the United Nations under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEC) in collaboration with the government through the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission.

Speaking during a visit by the UN resident representative, Mr Alvaro Rodriguez, the BMC Director General, Prof Kien Mteta, said the Tanzanian government would provide 500,000 euros while the hospital would dish out 300,000 euros and the IAEC some 400,000.

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