NEWLY installed cancer treatment equipment at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) has for the past one year facilitated the treatment of over 200 patients whose conditions were supposed to get the service abroad.
If referred to hospitals abroad, particularly India, it could have cost the government between 50m/- and 70m/- for each patient, which implies that a considerable amount of money ranging from 10bn/- to 14bn/ was rescued.
The Executive Director of the ORCI, Dr Julius Mwaiselage, said on Monday the facility installed the new radiation therapy machines called medical linear accelerators (LINAC), worth 9.5bn/-, which started functioning from September last year.
Dr Mwaiselage noted that the institute has referred abroad only 14 cancer patients this year, while in 2015 it referred 164 patients.
He was briefing the media on the achievements that the ORCI made during the four years of President John Magufuli's regime.
With 80 per cent of cancer patients in the country needing radiotherapy, the government took a bold move to strengthen the availability of the services domestically.
A report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued last year showed that Tanzania had 42,060 cancer patients while 28, 610 die every year.
Dr Mwaiselage pointed out the first four years under the fifth-phase government, have witnessed notable improvement of infrastructures and services at the institute that enabled an increase in the number of patients attended.
The capacity of the hospital has increased from serving 180 patients to 300 patients per day, he revealed, noting that the government has been increasing allocation of the budget for purchasing medicines.
The budget for anticancer drugs shot up from 790m/- in 2015 to 10bn/- this financial year, which increased availability of drugs by 95 per cent from only 4 per cent.
"This is a great achievement and the institute has been a role model in the East and Central zone of the region," he bragged.
ORCI's financial measures have helped a steady rise in revenues collections from 569m/- in the 2014/15 fiscal year to 14.7bn/- during the 2018/19 financial year.
Such measures include new sources of revenues such as pharmacy and enhanced service delivery.
On the institute's future plans, Dr Mwaiselage said processes are underway to purchase a new Positron Emission Tomography-C omputed Tomography (PET-CT), disclosing that the government had already disbursed 14.5bn/- for that purpose.
The PET-CT scan is a diagnostic examination that involves getting images of the body based on the detection of radiation from the emission of positrons.
It gives detailed information, including exact representation of certain types of cancer and their metastasis. Thus, it is possible to display not only the cancer itself but also its activity.
The method fits very well with checking the effects and success of the therapy used. Through consultation, PET-CT can determine the exact position, size, activity and development of cancer in the entire body.
The tender process to purchase the PET-CT has started and expected to complete in April next year.