Uganda: Hospital Lacks Cancer Experts

The physician and senior consultant head of Department of Medicine at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital says the hospital lacks pathologists and a laboratory for cancer tests. Dr George William Wabwona said specimens got from patients are sent to Mulago National Referral Hospital for analysis and when they are diagnosed with cancer, they are referred to Mulago.

“The most common cancer cases we receive here are Kaposi sarcoma and lymphoma which are associated with HIV/Aids. When patients reach here, we investigate particularly the skin vibes and ultra sound scan and take a sample of small pieces of tissues for investigation,” Dr Wabwona said. He added that anti-cancer drugs are not decentralised, therefore patients diagnosed with cancer are referred to the Uganda Cancer Institute for treatment. He said patients come to the hospital late, citing HIV patients who come when they are at stage Four of HIV, which is a dangerous one because ARVs need strong cancer medicine to supplement them as their immunity is very weak by then. “Even when patients come at an early stage, we cannot treat them, instead we refer them to Uganda Cancer Institute,” he said. Dr Wabwoma said health workers don’t have the capacity to make investigations about the suspected risk factors that may cause cancer because of limited resources. “I appeal to government to inject more resources in research because there is need to do more of prevention than cure. Prevention is better than cure and we need to investigate the likely causes of cancer and look for a way of preventing it as it is becoming epidemic,” he said.


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