By Elias Hakizimana.
Once National Cancer Control Plan will have been designed, it will guide cancer prevention and treatment efforts of the government, stakeholders, researchers and funders according to cancer fighters.
They made the case during the one-day consultative meeting on fighting cancer that was organized by Rwanda Children’s Cancer Relief, City Cancer Challenge -Kigali, and Ministry of Health through Rwanda Biomedical Center.
The meeting brought together cancer survivors, medical doctors and clinicians, pharmacists, researchers, government officials among others.
The objectives of meeting were to foster a network of cancer related contacts, leverage the recently completed Cancer City challenge survey and establish technical working groups that will come up with a national cancer control plan.
It also looked at cancer Research and capacity building, pathology and Cancer Registry, Cancer Awareness & Education, Cancer Treatment, Health system strengthening and national policy development and establish a cancer related stakeholders’ program as well.
According to Dr Fidel Bagumya, the oncologist at Rwanda Military Hospital and Rwanda Children’s Cancer Relief said that by the end of the year Rwanda Biomedical Center has pledged to have finished working on National Cancer Control Plan.
“we came together to share the challenges in cancer prevention and the ways to tackle them. We had also invited our counterparts from Kenya to share the experience. By Christmas this year RBC’s Director General said national cancer control plan will have been availed,” he said.
Dr Francois Uwinkindi said that Breast and cervical cancers are the most common cancer in women. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, and rectal cancer is the third most common across.
There is therefore a need for countries, Rwanda in particular to begin shifting resources toward this imminent burden, stakeholders reiterated.
Currently there are several stakeholders in one way or another involved in cancer control activities in Rwanda.
However, these stakeholders and partners are unfortunately not coordinated for the common goal and there is therefore a need to improve coordination among cancer related stakeholders in Rwanda.
Dr Pacifique Mugenzi, the Director of Radiotherapy Center at Rwanda Military Hospital said that over the past two months they have recorded between 40 and 50 cancer patients every day.
The challenges that are still affecting cancer treatment include lack of people’s knowledge of the disease which triggers delay in seeking treatment, high cost of treating cancer, lack of national control plan, lack of enough oncologists, enough research and innovations.
So far Rwanda vaccinates against cervical cancer, Hepatitis….
The increasing burden of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in particular cancer presents a global health challenge. The incidence of cancer is expected to rise by 70 % in the next 20 years with majority of this increasing taking place in low- and middle-income countries.
It was recommended to establishing comprehensive center of excellence providing radiotherapy, advanced surgery ad systematic therapy, rolling out of breast and cervical cancer screening in all districts, improving diagnostic capabilities, strengthening community check-up at health care level and improve cancer screening at primary health care level and others.
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