Dar es Salaam. The Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam, has officially launched the construction of its state-of-the-art Cancer Treatment Centre that will benefit up to 1.7 million people in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza regions.
The centre, which will be built at the hospital in Dar es Salaam, will receive up to 125 patients in need of radiation services per day.
The construction comes at a time when official data from the Health minister, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, shows that 68 out of 100 cancer patients die each year.
Due to this challenge, the Tanzania Comprehensive Cancer Project (TCCP) launched in January 2020 by the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS), has decided to build the facility before the project ends in 2024.
Speaking yesterday during the laying of the foundation stone for construction of the Sh13.8 billion facility, Princess Zahra Aga Khan said the event marked the important purpose of the project which was to improve cross-border cancer treatment services in the country.
“Statistics from the UN Cancer Research Organisation show that Tanzania receives 42,000 patients annually with an average death rate of 28,000 per year,” she said.
“About 75 percent of these patients are diagnosed in the late stages. This is a major challenge affecting the chances of recovery,” added Princess Zahra.
Ms Stephanie Mouen, the director of the French Development Agency (AFD) in Tanzania, said she believed that by the end of the TCCP project, better diagnostic services would reach 1.7 million beneficiaries in the regions of Dar es Salaam and Mwanza.
He said the project would also help better control the spread of cancer by increasing the number of patients diagnosed at an early stage from 20 to 50 percent.
“But it will also provide training for health care providers from the grassroots to clinics, as well as increase public awareness of cancer through the media and other means of communication,” said Ms Mouen.
The event, which coincided with the exhibition of various articles on health care delivery at the hospital, was also attended by the Ms Mwalimu who advised Tanzanians to have a culture of going for regular health check-ups.