Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) has registered increased cases of cancer this covid season. UCI Executive Director Dr Jackson Orem says cancer has more than doubled from the previous years incidence this covid pandemic.
“Cancer is on the rise. Cumulative statistics indicates 350 cancer cases per 100,000 population from previous 2010 150 cases per 100,000 population,” Orem said.
Orem however cast doubt of cancer control since most people do not seek care and treatment at Uganda Cancer Institute.
” UCI registers 7500 cases annually but this is a fraction of cancer patients accessing treatment. Majority of cancer patients do not access care at central cancer Institute, “Orem explained.
To address the anomaly, Orem says UCI will soon build regional cancer centres in Mbale, Mbarara, Gulu and Arua to expand cancer care and treatment to most in need.
The Uganda Cancer Institute is Uganda’s only referral cancer treatment care centre that has contributed tremendously to research and care of cancer patients world wide since its inception in 1967.
Cancer Services in Uganda
Orem stresses that Cancer affects everyone in different ways and every one has the power to take action to reduce the impact of the disease on individuals, families, and communities.
There is an increasing burden of cancer in the country. Its estimated that every thousand people are diagnosed with cancer.
UCI believes in prevention as one of the cost effective ways of fighting cancer. Evidence shows that 1/3 of all cancers are preventable, 1/3 can be cured and 1/3 can be treated with palliation
Orem says UCI is yet to establish National Reference Laboratory for cancer with funding from government amounting to shs7.3 billion.
The laboratory once fully functional will become the reference entity for both research and diagnosis of tumours across East Africa.
It will also cut down on expenditure by individuals who seek sophisticated tests from outside the region.
Zaitun Nalukwago Communication Officer Palliative Care Association of Uganda, says although Palliative care forms critical component in cancer care prevention, there is still a significant unmet need for palliative care and pain relief services.
According to her, currently only 11% of those who need pain control within wider context of palliative care access it in Uganda.
The Health Sector Development plan 2016 _2020 also shows that Hospice and palliative care services are being offered in only 4.8%of the public hospitals.
Zaitun says government continues to pay for the manufacture of oral liquid morphine and the procurement of other essential drugs for palliative care through the national medical stores.
But on good note Zaitun notes that Mulago School of Nursing and Midwifery a premier public nursing institution commenced an advanced diploma in palliative care nursing adding that this will increase the number of human resources in health with palliative care knowledge.
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