By Goodluck Musinguzi
Uganda is set to handle referrals of Cancer treatment from East Africa and any other country after buying state of the art machinery that are not on the African Continent.
Hon Jane Ruth Aceng, Minister of Health announced, “Good news to Cancer treatment in Uganda. The government of Uganda has procured a True Beam Linear Accelerator Cancer Machine which is currently being installed at Uganda Cancer Institute. This machine is the 1st of it’s kind in Africa”.
Dr Diana Atwine, the Chief Accounting at Ministry of Health said “the machines use beam radiation treatment by delivering high-energy electrons to the area of the patient’s tumor e.g breasts, head, or lungs. This will save our people money spent abroad on specialized cancer treatment. We can now handle referrals from around Africa and across”.
She added “We are expecting 3 more of these and 2 High Dose Rate Brachytherapy machines to fill the 6 bunkers we constructed at the soon to be opened Uganda Cancer Institute Centre of Excellence in Upper Mulago”.
The cost of the Truebeam machine is a whooping $3.2M but we are grateful it’s finally arrived home. The UCI has waited for almost two years and in this period there has been massive orientation with the staff on how to run and maintain the machine. Furthermore, it comes with warranty from the manufacturer so clearly the machine shall be in good hands.
Every year Uganda adds averagely 2000 Cancer patients on those being followed already. In 2010/11 24,816 patients were being followed, 2011/12 patients increased to 26,174 , 2012/13 increased to 28,168 patients ,2013/14 increased to 30,179. Meaning we have more than 40,000 patients being followed.
The health of the Ugandan population is central to the socio-economic transformation of the country. It is identified as a key priority in the medium term of the second National Development Plan (NDP II) and contributes to the third objective of the plan ‘to enhance human capital development’.
National Development Plan II Sector set Priorities in Financial Year 2015/16-2019/20. The Ministry of Health sector’s key result areas include:
i) Inclusive and quality health care services indicated by a
fall in mortality and fertility levels, increase in life expectancy and improved clinical services.
ii) Competitive health care centers of excellence indicated by a reduction abroad referrals due to
improved service delivery.
iii) Inclusive health care financing indicated by a reduction in out of
pocket expenditure by household on health and a functional health insurance.
The Ministry of Finance faulted Uganda Cancer Institute’s overall performance to be fair with 59% of outputs and outcomes achieved by 30th June, 2017.
In terms of outputs, very good performance was recorded under medical services (Cancer care, outreach and research). Poor performance under the Institutional Support to Uganda Cancer Institute. Most of the equipment was not delivered by 30th June 2018.
Dr Jackson Orem, Executive Director, must be the happiest man in Uganda after achieving this output.
“The Installation of the Truebeam Radiotherapy machine at the UCI has begun which will last up to 2 weeks before the software team starts their work. We are really delighted with the efforts being made by the engineering team”, said Orem.
“”With this new machine, our treatment will even be better” “.. the process of getting this machine has taken us about two years so we do have enough man power to maintain it” said Dr. Jackson Orem.
Hon Jane Ruth Aceng said the machine will start operation in December 2020 and will go a long way in improving cancer treatment in Uganda. It is designed to use high precision to treat tumors and lesions in various parts of the body such as head, neck, breast, lungs etc.
“It uses beam radiation treatment by delivering high-energy electrons to the area of the patient’s tumour. Improving service delivery at our hospitals and health facilities reduces the financial haemorrhage incurred by our people in seeking treatment abroad”, said Aceng
Radiotherapy is the treatment of cancer by using Radiation”
Qn: What is cancer & blood cancer? Cancer is caused by a dysfunction in cellular growth and behavior. In a healthy body, new white blood cells are regularly generated to replace old, dying ones.
“cancer can also be treated by surgery (remove the tumor) & also chemotherapy” The exceedingly costly Truebeam machine was procured through a grant from government that was availed through the African Development Bank.
This machine will cut down sessions to 1 -5 for a patient, compared to 20 to 40 sessions of conventional radiation therapy and patients are going to receive world class treatment here!
“The Truebeam is able to alter the level of energy and also refine the kind of treatment to a cancer patient. This precision just makes this costly machine standout from an array of other cancer machines.”