KAMPALA — Government through Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) and the Health Ministry Has Thursday September 5 unveiled a plan it says would help to reduce cancer spread and effect in the country.
The plan was unveiled by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda as he officiated at the 2nd Uganda Conference on Cancer and Palliative Care hosted by UCI and Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) under the theme,” Towards Universal health coverage.
The conference was held at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
Dr. Rugunda said that the government is committed to ensuring that the fight against Cancer is on— vowing to win the fight.
The Prime Minister said that government is working through Uganda Cancer Institute and Ministry of Health to ensure access of quality cancer and palliative care services to the population.
He also gave a detailed plan to end cancer that involves increasing human resources for cancer control, increasing access to cancer medicines and supplies, and improving access to radiotherapy and palliative care services among other.
“I am happy to note that the drugs at the [Uganda Cancer] Institute are now at 90% with potential to hit 100%,” he said adding that on expanding prevention and screening programs, the ministry of health has scaled up HPV, Hepatitis B vaccination.
Rugunda also said that President Yoweri Museveni is spearheading the national physical exercise activities UCI’s team is also traversing the country carrying out Cancer awareness and screening.
Other avenues, he said will include taking cancer services closer to people and that government is also supporting UCI to put up regional centers.
He said that also, regional cancer treatment centers are in operation, save for Gulu and Mbale that are expected to be finalized next year; and these will ensure cancer patients do not have to travel travel to Kampala for treatment and can readily access treatment from their respective regions.
Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said that Uganda has made good progress towards providing cancer care and palliative services and that government has acquired a new linear accelerator radiotherapy machine, bringing the total to three machines now, that are at the Uganda Cancer Institute.
She also noted that with the proposed national health care insurance scheme, government is pushing to have all Ugandans, including cancer patients, have access to high quality healthcare services to ensure their live healthy and long lives.
She also revealed that the Uganda Cancer Institute was selected as a centre of Excellence for Research, Training and cancer care in East Africa.
To this effect, she said many cancer care specialists have been trained, several research is ongoing and that the new centre for excellence on track to be constructed
Regarding palliative care, “Uganda stands proud as one of the only African Countries that has made good progress in pain management.”
She added that “Oral Morphine is available for all who need it free of charge, nurses as well as other clinicians can prescribe oral morphine.”
Minister Aceng also said that currently Palliative care courses are available in local Universities up to Master level as s profession.
Children from 3Children Caring About Cancer from performed at the Conference with poems encouraging the use of HPV vaccine to fight cervical Cancer and also use physical exercises to beat cancer.
The team also performed a play showing how Cancer can be beaten by seeing doctors early enough.