Dar es Salaam. The Aga Khan Health Service (East Africa) and Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) for many years now have been working closely in efforts to reduce cancer burden and assuring right treatment in Tanzania.
Addressing a press conference Thursday, ORCI executive director Dr Julius Mwaiselage said the partnership between his institute and Aga Khan Health Service has brought positive impacts especially when it comes to provision of cancer treatment in Tanzania.
“We usually organise training to enable our specialists become competent and skilled enough to attend the patients. We even sometimes transfer the patients to Aga Khan Hospital for treatment,” he said.
According to data provided by World Health Organisation (WHO), about 32 per cent (8.2 million) of cancer patients out of 14.1 million people who are diagnosed with cancer complications worldwide die per annum. Again the projection shows that the deaths associated with cancer cases will upsurge to 22 million people worldwide by 2030.
Briefing reporters on the current situation in Tanzania, Dr Mwaiselage noted that in 2015/2016 the Institute received a total of 33,563 patients. He urged only 12.5 per cent of cancer patients are reported to attend the clinic on time. About 80 per cent of cancer patients arrive at the Institute for treatment on late stages.
“Both cervical and breast cancers are threats to a number of women in the world. Breast cancer counts for deaths of 1.7 million women per year while cervical cancer accounts for deaths 500, 000 of women annually,” he said.
He revealed that his office, in collaboration with Aga Khan Hospital and Kunduchi Beach Hotel, on October 29 this year will organise a charity walk aimed at raising funds as part of the International Breast Cancer Day commemorations. The funds raised will go into purchasing medical equipment.
“Our projection is to collect at least Sh120 million for procurement of medical equipment especially for chemotherapy. A number of cancer patients are subjected to chemotherapy hence there is a need to have sufficient stocks,” he said.
In the same occasion, the regional chief executive officer with the Aga Khan Health Service, Mr Sulaiman Shahabuddin, said they will continue working closely with ORCI in efforts to completely alleviate the cancer complications in Tanzania.
This year’s commemoration focuses on spreading awareness about prevention of cancer diseases. Moreover, at ORCI, the specialists will perform breast cancer screening to people as one of the procedures to commemorate the day.