LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s much awaited National Cancer Center is expected to start admitting adult admissions next month, June 2021, Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda discloses.
Minister Chiponda revealed that the center is already providing admission services for children.
The minister told journalists on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 in the capital Lilongwe was speaking during during the third Annual Malawi Cancer Symposium that Malawi will save public funds when referring local cancer patients to India for radiotherapy.
She noted that such arrangement is very expensive.UNC Project jointly with Ministry of Health organised the Symposium for knowledge sharing and among others.
Chiponda said cancer is a serious issue which government is taking seriously, adding there are a number of patients that need medical attention in the country.
“It has been a challenge sending patients outside the country for treatment as it is expensive and the country cannot manage to send everyone. That is why we are working to have the National Cancer Centre in Lilongwe fully that we can attend to more patients locally.
“With the progress, country will soon start admission for adults at the cancer centre where currently, only children are receiving treatment,” assures Chaponda.
UNC Project Malawi Cancer Programme co-director Dr Tamiwe Tomoka therefore called for equal access to cancer care for the country to effectively fight the disease and save lives.
Tomoka said although efforts are being made to improve cancer care, more needs to be done to ensure that everyone has access to care.
“Lives are being lost and the country has to put more efforts in improving access to cancer care. People in rural areas are at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing cancer treatment.”
Tomoka also appealed for more funding for cancer care.
She said: “What saddens me is that we have people from the low socio-economic places who do not have a voice when they need cancer care or referrals. We have seen some privileged people being supported by friends or colleagues in raising funds, but what are we doing about the others?
“So, this is where we have to put our concerted efforts to ensure equal access to cancer care. I think that is the direction we have to take moving forward.”
The co-director also bemoaned inadequate infrastructure and specialists for treating cancer which she says worsens the problem of access to cancer care.
She called on government to partner the private sector and other stakeholders in developing advanced cancer centres locally.
Located within the Kamuzu Central Hospital premises, the center is set to increase access for patients to get treatment within the country.
Funded by the National Institute of Health, the symposium sought to provide a platform for stakeholders to share ideas on how best the country can promote cancer care and fight the disease.
About 19767 new cancer cases are recorded annually in the country, and the disease contributes about 50 percent of deaths from non – communicable diseases.
On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, Vice- President Saulos Chilima toured the National Cancer Centre where he indicated that the facility should be fully functional by June next year