Jinja — The Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) has opened a cervical cancer testing and treatment centre at Jinja Regional Referral Hospital to increase access to quality cancer care in Busoga Sub-region.
"The centre that was on Wednesday opened by Dr Gerald Mutungi, the commissioner of Non-communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health, will centralise cancer treatment within the sub-region," Dr Edward Nkurunziza, the Jinja hospital director, said.
"Government is increasing capacity in regional hospitals and we are glad that Jinja hospital has been selected as one of the first cancer referrals. This means patients will no longer have to be referred to Mulago cancer unit," Dr Nkurunziza said.
He added that they have started radiology services which were only being performed at the UCI.
Ms Alice Asiyo, a volunteer at the Jinja cancer unit, said since August last year, the centre has received a total of 949 clients, with 48 testing positive for cervical cancer. Of these, 20 were treated while 28 were referred to Mulago hospital because of lack of equipment.
The executive director of UCI, Dr Jackson Oryem, said the institute's Act mandates them to put up a formidable effort to fight or control cancer which has culminated in the launch of a cancer services registry in Mayuge District.
Dr Oryem also says the cancer services registry in Mayuge was prompted by concerns from an area politician that the number of people developing cancer in the district was alarming.
"UCI embarked on a more scientific trend while at the same time studying visitors' records and discovered that the number of patients from Mayuge District, who visited the cancer institute, was disproportionate. We now have to link the Mayuge registry to the Jinja cancer unit and Mulago cancer unit by establishing treatment here. In addition to screening, we shall start surgery, particularly for gynecological cases," Dr Oryem said.
The Mayuge registry, described by Dr Oryem as 'the first in Africa', has been established as a tool to count and track the number of cancer cases in the community, while the Jinja facility will be used as a training base for gynaecological entomology.