Ocean Road Cancer Institute cuts waiting time for testing cancer

Friday February 12 2021
cancer pic
By Alfred Zacharia

Dar es Salaam. Waiting time for testing cancer at Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) will go down to 24 hours from currently 48 hours, thanks to a new 3D Ultrasound machine.

The Sh115 million Ultrasound machine was handed over to ORCI yesterday by the Aga Khan Foundation in Tanzania through the Tanzania Comprehensive Cancer Project (TCCP).

The executive director of ORCI, Dr Julius Mwaiselage, says the new ultrasound joins the other two old machines to improve the ultrasound screening services.

“We are to increase the number of tested cancer patients from 50 per day to 80 patients. This will also reduce waiting time for patients to 24 hour only, from current 48 hours,” he noted.

According to him, the new ultrasound is an advanced machine with a capability of detecting cancer-tumors and non-cancer tumors. Dr Mwaiselage added that the 3D ultrasound will also be used for cardiac tests after cancer tests.

“Cancer tests have some side effects to heart due to the radiation. There is no need of going to Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) for tests because the new machine can do so,” he said.


ORCI faces chronic challenges, according to him, ranging from a shortage of critical drugs for chemotherapy to poor working conditions of the radiotherapy machines.

The Tanzania Comprehensive Cancer Project (TCCP) is the four-year project worth Sh38 billion aimed at strengthening and expanding the quality access and capacity of cancer care services through an innovative public private partnership (PPP) initiative.

Funded by both Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS), and the French Development Agency (AFD), the project will directly benefit approximately 1.7 million people in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza regions.

Dr. Harrison Chuwa, Consultant Oncologist at the Aga Khan Hospital and Director for TCCP, said the project will be achieved through a strategy that focuses on the enhanced performance and expanded outreach of the Tanzanian-based implementing partners, including Aga Khan Health Service, Tanzania (AKHS-T), Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), Bugando Medical Centre (BMC), Dar es Salaam and Mwanza regional secretariats under the President’s Office (regional and local government), and the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children with technical support from Institut Curie in France in delivering the full range of cancer services in the two-targeted regions in Tanzania.   

Currently, statistics show that in every 100,000 people, there are 76 new cancer patients, whereby in every 100 cancer patients, at least 68 people die, mainly due to delays in accessing services.

In 2013, the ministry launched the first Strategic Plan for Cancer Control and introduced the guidelines of cancer services in February 2019 in order to strengthen the provision of quality cancer services in the country.

The government has continued to strengthen access to medicine and the presence of specialists in treating cancer, with the aim of reducing the number of new cancer deaths by at least 50 percent by 2030.