Saturday, February 4, 2017

Ministry sets steps to deal with cancer among women

Early diagnosis of cervical and breast cancer among women will soon get new impetus as the government on Thursday this week announced to set up 90 centres for test and treatment of the diseases in 30 councils by June, this year. Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, told a press conference that the World Bank (WB) will finance the construction project and it has already released 2bn/- for the work. The stations are expected to address a challenge whereby most of the patients are diagnosed while the diseases are already at a high stage, a situation that defies treatment. “We are going to train 180 health experts for these centres. This means we will deploy two of them at each centre,” she said. She noted that the statistics indicate that the 70 per cent of the patients go to the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) at the time when the disease has already spread, reaching at third or fourth stage. “This leads many of them to death after failing to treat them. And the country has been losing human resources because many of these patients are in most cases aged between 30 and 63 years,” she said. It is estimated that the country records 50,000 cases of cancer every year. However, only 11.4 per cent get treatment. She was speaking at the ongoing parliamentary debate sessions in Dodoma ahead of the World Cancer Day which was marked nationally on Friday in Dar es Salaam. This year, the Day is marked with the theme: “We can. I can,” to explore how everyone together and individually – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.” She said the ORCI will get two new X-Ray machines for cancer treatment after it has received 5bn/- from President John Magufuli, thus making a total of 9.5bn/- for that purpose. Dr Magufuli’s move will give relief as the shortage of the machines has afflicted the nation for a long time. The only machine available is outdated and invariably gets technical faults. “I would like to inform the public that now the procedures to procure the machines are about to be completed,” she said. She noted that the procurement of the machines will help in reducing the number of Tanzanians travelling abroad to seek treatment. On the other hand, she said other efforts made include increasing the budget for buying drugs at the ORCI whereby in this financial year the government has allocated 7bn/- from only 700m/- in 2015/16.

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