Sunday, August 15, 2021.
BY: DOREEN NASASIRA.
The Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja has said the strategy of the government is to decentralize cancer treatment across the country so that the burden of accessing cancer services is reduced.
The Prime Minister made the remarks at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the Northern Uganda Regional Cancer Centre in Gulu District on Friday August 13, 2021.
The Premier said the regional cancer centre will greatly improve the quality of life for the people who are in dire need of cancer services once it is completed.
She mentioned that the Centre will not only cater for treatment needs but also reduce the number of preventable deaths each year through raising cancer awareness among the general public and undertaking research.
“In the fight against cancer, we need to pay attention to increasing public awareness about lifestyles that increase the risk of getting it. Our people need to know which foods increase the risk and that keeping a physically fit body through regular exercises reduces the chances of contracting many non-communicable diseases. Prevention is always better and cheaper than cure,” Hon. Nabbanja said.
The Prime Minister said the plan to construct the regional cancer centre is in line with the government’s commitment to extending cancer services closer to the people as indicated in the NRM manifesto and the National Development Plan III.
“The commitment of the NRM Government in the National Development Plan III and the NRM Manifesto is to extend cancer services closer to the people by establishing, constructing and equipping four Regional Cancer Centres that is; in Gulu for Northern Uganda, Mbale for Eastern Uganda, Mbarara for Western Uganda and Arua for West Nile by 2026,” the Premier said.
She said to reduce the impact of cancer on individuals, families and communities, the government is planning to procure new machines with more advanced technology to transform the Uganda Cancer Institute into the East African Center of Excellence.
She also highlighted that the Uganda Cancer Institute has one of the biggest radiotherapy bunkers in sub-Saharan Africa, and is equipped with three external beam radiotherapy machines with linear accelerator technology that is key in cancer treatment.
The Prime Minister cautioned against unnecessary delays of the project which is estimated to be completed within the next two years and urged the contractors to focus on ensuring value for money during the implementation of the project
“We must ensure that there is value for money and that the quality of the construction materials is of the highest standard. We will not tolerate shoddy or substandard work. This means that there is a need for regular supervision,” the Prime Minister said.
The Minister of State for Health (General Duties), Hon. Anifa Kawooya said the construction of the regional cancer centre aimed to extend services is one of the biggest achievements Ugandans are witnessing in the health sector.
The Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny thanked the contractors for embracing and fostering inclusion in the construction of the project.
The function was also attended by the area members of parliament and government officials among others. Ends.