August 2017 marks 50 years since Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) was established to fight cancer in Uganda. With UCI’s humble beginning in August 1967, Uganda unlocked its doors to cancer care at a time when a strange and deadly child tumor was common around the globe. This condition affected the jaws and abdomen of the patients. Over the years, UCI has made remarkable contributions to the healthcare in the country, in research, and done extremely well in its intervention on AIDS related cancers. The Institute’s research has given useful insights on the causes of cancer and provided clues to preventive approaches. UCI has heavily invested on immunisation, early detection programs, arrest of cancer at inception, and training.
Today, UCI is internationally recognized for excellence in advancing comprehensive cancer management. The Institute has set a blue print that will guide the fight against cancer, generate more knowledge through excellence, diligence, innovations, hard work and professionalism.
Some of the notable contributions of UCI to the world are its concept of combination chemotherapy, the treatment of tumor meningitis, and development of the concept of essential drug list for cancer therapy. Despite the fact that Cancer is a serious threat to health in Uganda, the disease competence to affect the masses has been reduced through a combination of strategies applied by UCI and more survivors have been registered of late. However, in order to sustain this fight against cancer, more community involvement is required. One of the greatest challenges towards this fight is lack of knowledge on the disease. The Institute has acquired modern equipments to facilitate the fight against cancer, constructed structures and provided a wide range of free services but due to lack of knowledge, many Ugandans have not yet fully utilized these facilities to ensure prevention and early arrest of cancer.
In a bid to address this, UCI has not only trained its staff but also trained other people involved in cancer activities countrywide. It has also established satellite centers in different parts of the country in order to provide care and preventive measures. The government of Uganda and other key partner like Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Uganda Women’s Cancer Support Organization, Uganda Program on cancers and infectious diseases, and Uganda Child Cancer Foundation have made commendable contributions towards the fight against cancer in Uganda, although more support is still required especially to acquire more external-beam radiotherapy machines.
By far, the 50 years of existence of UCI has made important impact on the fight against cancer in Uganda. The UCI board and staff members wish to thank the people of Uganda and all partners for their support towards making it realize part of its goals. UCI is committed to its resolve in the fighting against cancer and ensure a cancer free generation in the years to come. With the ultimate mission of embarking on more research, UCI is aiming to greater heights. UCI focuses on provision of state of the art cancer care and prevention by advancing knowledge, fostering the use of research as a resource in training and professional development.