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Uganda Cancer Institute accredited as oncology training centre

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) has finally been offered a green light to train doctors who want to specialize in treating cancer patients or oncology.

This certification which ends more than five years of trying to attain the requirements, allows the institute to train specialists in medical oncology, pediatric oncology which focuses on treating cancers in children and haematology oncology which focuses on cancerous disorders.

Dr. Jackson Orem, the Institute’s Executive Director told URN in an interview that they have previously had to send oncologists to study abroad because this kind of training has not been available in the country. He says they obtained their certificate last week after a final assessment by the regulator.

The push for the institute to become a training centre started in 2015 when the centre was declared the East African Regional Center of excellence for cancer treatment. Since then, they have been doing assessments to establish the key things that needed to be in place, according to Dr Katumba Ssentongo, the Registrar of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Council.

He says to be accredited, the institute needed to have an adequate number of trainers, and infrastructure in terms of equipment, wards, laboratories and patients. Although they don’t yet have the adequate number of trainers they would need, Katumba says they were still given a green light considering the huge need for such specialists in the country with the huge incidence of cancer.

According to statistics by the Ministry of Health, for every 100,000 people, there are 300 new cancer patients and yet the mortality rate from cancer is also still high at 80 per cent. Cervical, breast cancer and leukaemia, burkitt’s lymphoma and prostate cancer remain the commonest.

Orem says the accreditation allows them more capacity to research and come up with new solutions to enable them to save some of the people who are unnecessarily succumbing to the disease. Already, he says with an annual budget of one billion Shillings for research, they are publishing more than 30 new studies every year which is now going to increase.

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