Arab contractors limited hands over Radiotherapy facility to the Ministry of Health and UCI.
Many cancer patients in Uganda received a ray of hope yesterday as the radiotherapy facility was being handed over to the Uganda Cancer Institute and the Ministry of Health by the contractors who were renovating it. The radio therapy facility is the area that housed the old radiotherapy machine which broke down last year causing many patients that needed radiotherapy treatment to seek this service elsewhere. This short coming hindered the Institute from providing some health services to its patients causing panic in the country.
Due to this unfortunate and abrupt occurance the institute resorted to working on a quick solution to solving this urgent problem by working closely with the government of Uganda. Dr. Jackson Orem, the director of the Cancer Institute says that renovations of the facility are complete and that treatment of the first patient will be possible after the radiotherapy machine is brought to the country in a period of sixty days. “The commissioning is likely to be in two months, which is when the machine has been assembled and tested, in about July we should have treatment resuming” said Dr. Orem.
Dr Orem also says that the machine cost about 700,000 euros, a fee that the Government of Uganda paid in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The facility which has been renovated in 120 days received the last inspection from the atomic energy council yesterday and is ready to shelter the radiotherapy machine. “We had a team from the atomic energy council here, they inspected all the aspects of this work and will now issue a certificate”, said Godfrey Olum, the Contract manager at the Uganda Cancer institute. He also added that the transportation of the machine will occur in two forms.
The first part of the machine will be transported by sea while the source which is the cobalt 60 therapy will get into the country by air. “As I talk right now, the machine is already manufactured, it is already in the box waiting to be moved”, said Dr. Orem. He also spoke of the financial challenge the institute faced as the renovation of this facility was taking place, he added that the contractor worked on 90% of the facility without receiving any money for the work.
The Undersecretary for Ministry of Health Ronald Segawa commended the institute and the contractor Arab contractors for carrying out good quality work within a short period of time. “To all Ugandans we just want to give a report that finally we have started to see the light to the end of a very period, over one year without this service. The solution is about to be found”. He made these remarks as he officiated the handover ceremony. He also urged doctors and members of the media to go for cancer screening in order to deliver good medical services and messages to the public while in good condition respectively.
The institute also hopes to have construction of the six radiotherapy bunkers complete in a period of six months and equipment for these bunkers will be shipped after this. Procurement is already taking place for the chamber that is currently being casted and the Linux technology will be ready for transportation after this process has been completed.
This project was made possible through collaboration with the ministries of Health, works and energy as well as the atomic energy council. This is one of the achievements that the institute has gained this year and many more advancements are yet to be made this year if all plans are implemented in time. This will help to boost the health services offered by the institute to the cancer patients in Uganda and patients from neighboring countries as well since it is just the beginning of infrastructural and technological advancements at the institute this year as the contract manager Godfrey Olum stated.
The old radiotherapy machine that was purchased in 1995 and broke down last year has already been removed from the newly renovated facility to prepare for the arrival of the new one. The cancer institute receives over 44,000 new referrals annually from Uganda and other African countries which include East African countries, South Sudan and many others. Majority of the patients from these countries need radiotherapy treatment and this will soon be possible in a few months.