Mbarara University football playground which is past Uganda police, adjacent to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital has been set for tomorrow’s cancer run.
Dubbed “The 7th Uganda Cancer Color Run”, its proceeds will support childhood cancer patients at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH).
Today, the MRRH officials led by the Acting Hospital Director Dr Deus Twesigye attended a press briefing convened by the Mbarara City North legislature to share updates on the color run.
Dr Elias Kumbakumba, the Head of Pediatrics and Child Health Department at MRRH disclosed that the hospital’s cancer unit is faced with hardships ranging from inadequate drugs and staff.
Cancer patients need continuous medical treatment but the majority of caretakers can’t afford to foot medical bills.
“This is why the Cancer Color Run initiative was born in 2015 to give hope to children with cancer. Since its inception, we have noted an increase in patients seeking cancer services at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital”, he says.
It’s worth noting that the cancer epidemic has been and continues to take a toll on both younger children and adults in Uganda.
Annually, whereas it’s estimated that Uganda Cancer Institute records over 1500 new cases of children with cancer, Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital records over 150 new cancer cases.
Available figures indicate that since April last year, medics attached to MRRH’s Cancer Unit have attended to close to 5000 with an average of 60 outpatients on a given clinic day.
On a weekly basis, the 16-bed capacity Childhood Cancer Unit built in 2017 with support from the Massachusetts General Hospital; is a bee hive of activity.
Dr Deus Twesigye notes that the Uganda government through the Health Ministry has been supportive as he appreciates the well-wisher’s helping hand.
He applauded the Massachusetts General Hospital, Global Health Collaborative, and Uganda Cancer Institute for rallying behind MRRH to improve cancer care services.
He reminds the population that MRRH serves beyond its catchment area which comprises twelve districts and one city due to a wide range of specialties.
In his remarks, Hon. Mwesigwa Rukaari, the Mbarara City North legislature was shocked to learn that Mbarara Referral Hospital is overwhelmed with childhood cancer cases.
Hon. Rukaari pledged to table the matter before the Speaker of Parliament for government to give the hospital special consideration.
He adds that he will spearhead the hospital administration to involve prominent farmers and businessmen to be part and parcel of the cause.
“This case shouldn’t be left to the organizations, everyone can be part of it and actually community members can play a vital role. We have farmers who can be willing to donate foodstuff or milk products if approached. Let’s work together I will bring them on board”, he says.
The Mbarara City North MP handed over 1,000,000 Uganda shillings as a contribution towards Cancer Color run which will start tomorrow at exactly 7:00 am.
For half a decade, the marathon has generated over $ 150,000 which contributed towards the establishment of Adult and Children Cancer wards, stocking cancer drugs and food for the malnourished children.
This year, the Cancer Color run is geared towards mobilizing 390,000,000 UGX and raising awareness about cancers.