Uganda: Government Opens Cancer Centre in Arua

Nurse treating a young patient at the Uganda Cancer Institute (file photo).
15 February 2019

Arua — Ms Neria Driwaru, 70, a resident of Awupi Village in Ayivuni Sub-county in Arua District, has since 2015 been living with cancer of the liver.

Due to lack of funds, she has not been able to travel to the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) in Mulago, Kampala, for treatment. She has, therefore, started on palliative care, as she waits for death.

However, with establishment of a regional cancer treatment centre in Arua, Ms Driwaru may get chance to access first class treatment.

UCI is now providing cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment at Arua Regional Referral Hospital.

While visiting the hospital last week, UCI officials led by the executive director, Dr Jackson Orem, delivered cancer machines; cryotherapy, medical nitrous oxide, cervical biopsy punch, lithotomy bed and bone marrow biopsy kit, among others.

Dr Orem observed that West Nile sub-region has many cancer patients, especially of the liver and blood types.

"The Arua regional cancer treatment centre is very important because it can help to set up a mechanism to reduce the rate of cancer prevalence as we are convinced that cancer is a major problem in the region," he said.

Dr Oryem said UCI will train staff at Arua hospital to supplement those from UCI.

Statistics from Arua Regional Referral Hospital indicate that in 2010 there were 20 cases of prostate cancer, five for digestive tract cancer, 12 of breast cancer, one of lung cancer and two of cancer of the liver.

In 2015/16, there were about 35 cases of various cancers recorded across Arua District. Arua hospital management has offered a private maternity ward to UCI to install the machines ahead of preparations for construction of a regional centre.

The principal hospital administrator, Mr Micheal Odur, said land is available for construction of a regional cancer centre.

He hailed UCI for moving to help the prevalence of cancer in West Nile sub-region. UCI is to create cancer registries at Gulu Medical School and Busitema University. The registries will collect data of cancers. Uganda has been having only one cancer registry in Kampala.

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