The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has urged the Ministry of Health to train cancer specialists to handle the growing number of cancer patients.
Kadaga, who was the Chief Walker at the World Cancer Day Walk, said that the government needs to avail funding to train Ugandan doctors in the field of cancer treatment because the current number of specialists is very low compared to the demand.
The Walk under the theme, “We can, I can” was flagged off by the Speaker at the Uganda Cancer Institute in Mulago on Sunday, 4th February, 2018. The Walk was organised by the Institute to mark World Cancer Day.
The Speaker said, “It is sad to note that we have only about 30 cancer specialists in the entire country; as government, you should be focused on training more people on the issue of cancer. Parliament is ready to support you in the allocation process.”
She noted that the President of Uganda committed the country to an African Union resolution that the Health sector should be allocated 15% of the budget.
“This opportunity should be taken advantage of to provide funding for training these people,” Kadaga said.
Kadaga added that more funding should also be availed for increasing the number of referral centres to help reach out to the population.
“It becomes difficult for someone suffering from this illness to move from the Uganda-Sudan border to get to the regional referral hospital in Gulu town; the 14 centres need to be increased to reach the people,” she said.
Kadaga thanked the Uganda Cancer Institute for making sure that the issue of cancer is getting visibility. She also thanked the Institute for installing the new cancer machine in Mulago.
The Cancer Institute unveiled the Cobalt 60 radiotherapy machine used to treat cancer patients in November 2017 and was pressed into service in December last year.
Uganda Cancer Institute Executive Director, Dr. Jackson Orem said that the main target of any action towards cancer is to prevent death.
“Awareness is the single most important tool in fighting cancer; actions against cancer can be from the community, government and on a personal basis,” he said.
He further thanked the Parliament with the leadership of the Speaker for being very supportive in this cause.