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We have increased awareness on cancer – Dr. Mugisha

Uganda Cancer Institute

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The number of women who report to the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) with advanced cervical cancer has reduced from 90% five years ago to 50% now.

This was revealed yesterday as the Institute and Uganda Cancer Society presented an annual update on the cancer situation in the country.

Dr. Noleb Mugisha an oncologist who heads cancer prevention at the Institute says that increasingly women are reporting at the institute with cancer that can easily be treated and cured something he attributes to increased awareness efforts about the disease which makes women seek care early enough.

While the institute is celebrating these strides, Paul Ebusu, the Executive Director of the Uganda Cancer society said cancer sufferers still encounter major challenges in access to care citing the consistent breakdown of the radiotherapy machine throughout the year that saw some patients’ treatment being disrupted.

He said that still about 2500 patients of the 3500 women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the country still die sometimes because they can’t access timely care and breakdown of equipment creates bad outcomes.  As we move into 2020, he urged the managers at the institute to always communicate in a timely manner whenever the machines are to be down for servicing to enable patients and caregivers prepare in advance.

Ebusu also urged government to come up with permanent solutions to drug stock outs and absence of essential medicines something he says can be handled if government developed regulation on procurement of medicine by the institute and having cancer medicines enlisted in the essential medicines list of the Ministry of Health that is set to be released next year.

Dr. Jackson Orem, the Executive Director of the UCI said radiotherapy services are set to improve in the New Year after they acquired a new state of the art linear accelerator at the new bunkers that are also planned to be open for use early next year.

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