The East African Development Bank (EADB) has partnered the British Council and the Royal College of Physicians to train selected medical practitioners in Western Uganda.
Vivienne Yeda, the director general at EADB, said the objective is to upgrade the ability of the target group of physicians to be able to better manage the patients with common neurological disorders.
She explained that cancer is one of the diseases hard to detect and such diseases need constant training of physicians to easily detect them.
“We are receiving positive feedback from the doctors who have so far taken part in the trainings; the fight against cancer should be taken up by all of us and, as EADB, we shall continue to train doctors until we meet our target of training 600 medical practitioners in four years,” Yeda said.
Dr Abrahams Omoding, a specialist medical oncologist with the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) and also one of the programme trainers, said that cancer now kills more people than HIV/Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis combined.
He explained that although the signs and symptoms of the disease are still not well-known in many communities, there have been tremendous efforts to sensitize people and train medical practitioners in early identification of cancer cases.
“There has been a recorded increase in the number of cancer patients in the region and close to 80 per cent of these patients find out when the cancer is in its late stages,” Dr Omoding said.
“The programme continues to focus on early detection, research and treatment of cancer and neurological disorders especially in communities where access to qualified professionals remains a challenge.”
Dr Omoding further said the course is key in reducing late cancer detection by training the doctors on the most important information on the signs and symptoms of cancer.
Doctors who attended the training programme in Mbarara were in agreement for an increased need of such trainings across the region, while some said they did not know how to detect cancer.
“I have learnt a lot of new things and through this training, I will now be able to look at medical cases from a different aspect so as I can be able to diagnose my patients with utmost surety,” said John Bosco Twine, a clinical officer.
Edwin Nuwagira, a medical officer at Mbarara hospital said most doctors concentrate on diagnosing diseases like malaria and typhoid while ignoring chances of cancer.
“We don’t always think of a patients having cancer; so, we mainly concentrate on simple ailments and as you know we have many patients, we don’t have much time for one-on-one with the patients,” he said.
Non Communicable Diseases
Dr Omoding said these diseases are driven by forces that include ageing, rapid unplanned urbanization, and unhealthy lifestyles.
“For example, globalization of unhealthy lifestyles like unhealthy diets may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipids, and obesity. These are called 'intermediate risk factors' which can lead to cardiovascular disease,” he said.