Uganda Cancer Institute has said that it will decentralize Cancer treatment by opening up more regional centres in a bid to ensure that all Ugandans have access to cancer treatment and other related services.
According to Dr Victoria Walusansa the Deputy Executive Director of the Uganda Cancer Institute, although the Institute is operating a regional centre in Mbarara to serve the western region, the headquarter at Mulago is being overwhelmed by the increasing number of patients who seek cancer treatment and other services.
“We are in the process of embarking on the development of infrastructures to house the Gulu centre.
“A lot of work has been done and we hope that by the end of the financial year 2019/2020, most of the works will have been finished.
“Other proposed centres will be worked on after the Gulu regional centre has been opened,” said Walusansa during a press conference in Kampala. She explained.
She said the decentralizing of the services wills not only help in ensuring that the general public gets access to the treatments but the centres will also act as hubs for Cancer Information dissemination.
Among the new regional centres to be opened by the Cancer Institute are Arua, to cater for West Nile region, Mbale for the Eastern and Gulu for Northern Uganda.
Walusansa observed that cancer is still a very big health challenge and if not addressed it may hinder the social and economic transformation of Uganda.
She said most Cancer patients belong to the working-age bracket and, they are both men and women.
Explaining more on the status of Cancer in Uganda, the Oncological expert noted that cancer is still high especially in women as compared to men.
She said in 2018 the Cancer Institute registered a total of 18, 068 new cancer cases in women as compared to 14549 for men.
Most women were diagnosed with Cervical Cancer at 6,413 (35%) followed by Breast which stood at 2,318 or 12.8%.
For the male counterparts, the Cancer Institute received more men suffering from Kaposi Sarcoma at 2 737 (18.8%) while Prostate Cancer stood at 2 086 (14.3%).
The Cancer of the Oesophagus was also recorded at 1 282.
In total, according to the Uganda Cancer Institute, the Country registered over 32 617 number of new cancer cases.
In order to contain the situation, Cancer experts cautioned the general public to take precautions that may help them not to get especially to cancer virus especially the younger Girls that are exposed to Human Papillomavirus (HPV Virus).
Dr Noleb Mugisha the Head of Cancer Prevention at the Institute said the only way to contain such a challenge is by young girls being supported to get Vaccination against the Virus.
“If girls are immunized against HPV, we could prevent 70% of cervical cancers in this country. Please immunize all your girls aged 10 years against HPV.
“And, apart from immunizing the girls, other people in the general public should also improve on their lifestyles by stopping to smoke, over-consuming alcohol alongside eating foods that have a lot of carbohydrates.
“All these lifestyles can trigger to Cancer related complications,” said Mugisha.
Mugisha said the uptake of HPV Vaccination in Uganda is still below the recommended World Health Organisation Standard.
He stressed that this is due to ignorance by the public about the health value associated with exercises despite the fact that the Ministry of Health has tried to sensitize them.
Mugisha said that when people are HIV positive, they should get on to treatment early enough and adhere to it saying that HIV infection puts one at a high risk of getting Cancer.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO