Malawians will benefit a lot from a Cancer Treatment Centre in Lilongwe that is being constructed near the Kamuzu Central Hospital, the Minister of Health and Population, Atupele Muluzi has said.
The Minister was speaking at Mitundu Primary school in Lilongwe during activities to commemorate this year'sWorld Cancer Day under the theme: "We can, I can;Let's talk about cancer."
"The cancer centre will help us a lot in terms of dealing with the disease because for a long time now people have been going outside Malawi to receive treatment but with the cancer centre,people will get treatment right in the country and this will help save the money that people use to travel abroad for treatment," said Muluzi.
The cancer centre is being constructed with a loan from Opec Fund for International Development (Ofid) to the tune of $13 million (about K10 billion). The Malawi Government will also make financial contribution as per Ofid's loan conditions.
Speaking about the World Cancer Day, Muluzisaid the day is very important as itbrings awareness about the disease and what needs to be done to get treatment.
"It isimportant that people should be aware of what the disease is all about, they should know its signs and go hospitals for early treatment," he said.
He added that people are also made aware of dangerous lifestyles can lead to cancer like smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol.
The commemoration of World Cancer Day was also graced the World Health Organisation(WHO) representative to Malawi, Leslie Mgagula and in his remarks he said the WHO is encouraging individuals to make healthy choices.
"Everyone can make a difference; we encourage schools, workplaces, community groups and broader society to play a role by promoting physical activity and actively opposing tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption and unhealthy diets," said Mgalulaconsidering commitments made by Member States under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) to reduce premature deaths from cancer and other non communicable disease by one-third before 2030.
"First of all I should recommend the government of Malawi that as we are commemorating the day here, we are working hand in hand as there are plans which have already been placed to deal with this disease. The WHO is ready to provide the support and guidance needed to offer quality access to cancer care for all, and ensure that no one is left behind.
"WHO recognizes the effort of government and political will to combat cancer by establishing among others; NCD and Mental Health Unit, cancer centre, screening and treatment sites for cervical cancer and many other interventions" added Mgalula.
The cancer centre, the minister of health alluded to is expected to be finished in September this year and it will be the first cancer hospital in the history of Malawi.