A second Cobalt 60 radiotherapy machine will be delivered to Mulago national referral hospital in August, installed in September and by December, cancer patients will start using it, Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) has announced.
Institute director, Jackson Orem, has told The Observer that the second modern linac machine is expected to cost $3.5 million (about Shs 13bn) and should treat 120 patients per day compared to the recently installed one which covers 80 patients in the same timeframe.
The country’s only cancer machine was commissioned in January after a two-year wait. The old, obsolete one had finally broken down in March 2016. Just last week, Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng launched the new board members for the institute with eight members at Imperial Royale hotel in Kampala.
The new board includes; Dr Charles Olweny as the chairperson, Dr Jacksom Orem as the secretary and Sarah Nafuna, Prof William Bazayo, Baterana Byarugaba, Charles Olaro, Fatia Kiyaga and Gertrude Nakigudde as members. Orem also said UCI is going to start buying medicine directly from international suppliers to avoid the delays at National Medical Stores.
This, he said, will improve services with people being treated on time “unlike before when we have been treating them when drugs are available”.
“We shall first procure drugs worth Shs 7 billion this financial year. But de-pending on the need and availability of resources, we might double the drugs next financial year. We shall make a system to avoid drug stock-outs whereby suppliers will front-load drugs,” he said.
At the launch, Aceng warned the new board against infighting.
“We want a Cancer Institute where everybody matters. Where there is no intrigue, no infighting because with such, it puts our energy to wrong direction leaving what we are supposed to do left undone,” she said.