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Govt earmarks Shs140b for setting up two regional cancer centres

The Uganda Cancer Institute Executive Director, Dr Jackson Orem. (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – The government has allocated 144 billion shillings towards operationalization of four regional cancer institutes this financial year.

The revelation was made on Friday by Dr. Jackson Orem, the executive director of the Uganda Cancer Institute, during celebrations to mark the International Child Cancer Day.

“In the past, we thought that cancer would attract resources like HIV but it did not. As far as ensuring equity for extension of our services, that is why we are emphasizing regional cancer centers,” Dr Orem said, adding that another 178 million shillings has been allocated by government towards increasing cancer awareness.

He revealed that already, the Mbarara center is offering good services, and the one in Arua was opened last week.

Speaking at the Friday event, Dr. Joyce Balagadde Kambugu, the head pediatric oncology department at the Uganda Cancer Institute, revealed that the cancer burden among children is on the rise and urged parents to take extra care and attention.

Dr Kambugu revealed that in 2017, the institute registered 476 children suffering from leukemia, kidney and muscle cancer, who increased to 582. She added that if detected early, children suffering from cancer have a 50 percent survival chances and in Europe where the survival chances stand between 80 and 90 percent.

She said lack of diagnosis, misdiagnosis, abandonment of treatment and relapse are among the reasons that patients develop full-blown cancer.

Mr Benjamin Ikara, the programs coordinator Uganda Child Cancer Foundation (UCCF), said that introducing cancer and none communicable diseases awareness to adolescent children helps them to grow up knowing how to avoid the diseases.

“Smoking, drinking, and sex starts during adolescence. Cancer is not a disease which develops overnight, it takes time that is the reason why most people suffering from it start showing signs when they are in their 40s and the 50s,” he said.

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