Uganda to Train Cancer Specialists for EAC Region

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In short
The funding was allocated to support the creation of a network of Centers of Excellence CoEs in biomedical sciences and engineering, oncology in Uganda, nephrology and urology in Kenya, cardiovascular in Tanzania and biomedical engineering and e-health in Rwanda.

The much anticipated training of cancer specialists under the East African Oncology Project is set to roll-out this year.  Through the project, Uganda is to host East Africa's center of excellence for the training of oncologists.

The oncologist training Centre of Excellence to be located at the Cancer Institute in Mulago is part of the over 98 million US Dollar funding approved by the African Development Bank (AfDB) two years ago to finance the first phase of East Africa's Centers of Excellence for Skills and Tertiary Education in Biomedical Sciences.

The funding was allocated to support the creation of a network of Centers of Excellence (CoEs) in biomedical sciences and engineering, - oncology in Uganda, nephrology and urology in Kenya, cardiovascular in Tanzania and biomedical engineering and e-health in Rwanda.

Uganda received 35 Million US Dollars to improve the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) as part of a regional initiative to reduce the number of patients seeking treatment abroad. The Ugandan government will also invest 3.4 Million US dollars in the project with the aim of actualizing the plan to turn Uganda Cancer Institute into a regional center of excellence in cancer treatment.

Commissioning the project at hotel African today, Dr Jackson Orem, the director of Uganda Cancer Institute- UCI said that the project will support Uganda to deliver high level education, clinical training, and research and provide care for the cancer management for Ugandans as well as the population of the East African community.

The five year project includes construction of a training institute at UCI, training UCI specialists who will conduct the training and also purchase new equipment.

With a population of over 35 million, Uganda has only 20 oncologists while the demand for these experts has grown due to steady growth of the cancer cases. Every year, at least 60,000 new cases of cancers are recorded. Orem says that with the training institute and new equipment, the trend is likely to change.

The training will start with the orientation of the existing oncologists to enable knowledge and skill transfer.
 
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Dr Caroline Juhu-Appier, the human development officer for ADB said that they funded Uganda because of the rising cases of cancer in the country. She adds that Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania were also funded depending on their needs.
 
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Dr Orem says that in order to track cancer patients, part of the project will also focus on the creation of registries such that patients are recorded and followed up for treatment.
 
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Uganda Cancer Institute, established in 1967, is currently a World Health Organization - WHO collaborating center for cancer research. The center is spearheading implementation of the WHO recommendation that calls on African countries to prioritize cancer control. It carries out prevention and cancer care activities including community cancer outreaches and cancer surveillance.

 

About the author

Beatrice Nyangoma
Beatrice Nyangoma values her independence as a journalist. This was one of her major considerations before she became a URN staffer in 2015.

Nyangoma says, "I like URN because it gives me room to decide what stories I want to work on. That is so important to me."

The URN Jinja bureau chief since July 2016, Nyangoma considers health matters a beat close to her heart. One of the highlights of her career so far were her exclusive interviews unveiling the rot in Mulago hospital in early 2016.

Nyangoma started out writing for the Red Pepper newspaper in 2011 in her final year of university. She was majorly a health reporter. In 2012, Nyangoma moved to Top Television as a health, business reporter and weekend news editor. She was also the assistant editorial manager of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre FM (KRC FM).