KAMPALA – The executive director of the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI), Dr. Jackson Orem, has urged Ugandans to stop travelling abroad for cancer treatment, saying Uganda now has the required expertise and machines to treat the deadly disease to the level of developed countries such as India.
“If you are diagnosed with whatever kind of cancer, even if you go to America, the management will be the same. Our aim is quality. We diagnose with two intentions: to cure, and, the quality of life,” Dr. Orem said during a breakfast meeting organised on providing palliative care in Kampala on Thursday, August 8.
He explained that UCI now has three new machines to help patients access treatment, warning that many Ugandans have a mentality that going abroad is the solution.
“Generally people think that things done outside are better, just like in commerce, we import more than we export,” Dr Orem said, explaining that some hospitals abroad only target money not to treat.
“When people are talking about some hospitals, they forget that they target the rich. For most of these facilities, it is about ambiance. However, our approach is a public approach. We go beyond the ambiance to offer critical care that can be accessible to even the poor,” he added.
He cited an example of one case last week when he received two patients who had been receiving treatment in India.
“When they returned, they needed a follow-up at the cancer institute. They were shocked that all the drugs they came back with are in our stores. We have the services here; radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery and palliative care,” Dr Orem said, adding that the facility has 50 specialists dealing in different kinds of oncology.
“Two of the machines have already been installed and this means we have doubled our capacity. And the third machine, of Trubeam model is the first of its kind in East Africa. It will be installed by next month,” he added. “We have also started a training center for specialists in oncology, radiation and palliative care.”