Last year, a total of 10,017 new cancer cases were recorded by the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI). This is almost double the number that was recorded the previous year (5,030).
However, amid this surge, the Executive Director of Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) Dr. Jackson Orem yesterday admitted that the cancer facility lacks adequate houses to accommodate all admitted patients.
Orem was Monday addressing legislators on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) after he was tasked to explain why patients continue to sleep on the facility’s verandahs.
PAC chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi asked Orem to explain why there were several tents all over the cancer institute, which forced Orem to categorically state the exact situation.
“They sleep everywhere. In fact, when you finish work, all the premises and corners you find patients sleeping there. That is why the emphasis I am putting on hostels is real,” he admitted.
As a way of taking pressure off the cancer institute, Orem said a number of regional centers are being established in Arua, Mbale, Mbarara.
“So all these regional cancer centers we decided that they must be where there is a university teaching hospital. Secondly there must be a regional referral hospital,” Orem disclosed.
Upon completion, he said, only complicated cases shall be handled at UCIs Kampala branch that will then be converted into a center of excellence.
On the other hand, he told the committee that construction works on the East Africa Centre of Oncology were going smoothly and that in a week’s time they will be visiting Tanzanian city of Arusha to share notes with their regional counterparts on the progress of this project.
That said, Orem rebuffed talk that awarding this centre to Uganda was premised on the vast experience of UCI in cancer research and treatment.
According to a Global Cancer Observatory (Globocan) fact sheet of 2018, a total of 32,617 cancer cases were recorded two years ago in Uganda. Out of these cervical cancer was leading at 6,413 (19%), Kaposi Sarcoma at 4,238 (13%), Breast cancer 2,318 (7.1%), Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 1,888 (5.8%), Prostate 2,086 (6.4%).
On the other hand, other cancers accounted for 15,674 or (48.1%).