Kampala, Uganda | URN | When Rotarians unveiled their plans to build and equip a first privately-run cancer unit, it sounded like a dream far from assured. The effort of raising funds through the annual Rotary Cancer Run is however slated to deliver a 36-bed cancer unit at Nsambya hospital.
The Chairperson of Uganda Cancer Run, Steven Mwanje says there is light at the end of the tunnel with over 2.5 billion shillings garnered to start off one crucial component of the project.
He says with collection as par the last run in August 2019, construction of bunkers for the radio therapy unit at Nsambya should commence.
Most of the people diagnosed with cancer are likely to receive radiotherapy as part of their treatment, International Atomic Energy Agency regulations require the construction of bunkers for the safety and efficacy of radiotherapy.
Mwanje in an interview told this publication that his leadership has embarked on the effort to seek clearance needed before the construction of the bankers can take off sometime around May.
So far, he says they have approval from the Atomic Energy Council and are awaiting approval from National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
The dream according to Mwanje is to have all the work completed by end of 2023. Once completed, Nsambya will be the second hospital to have a functional to operate a functional radio therapy unit.
Currently, the only functional units are run by the Uganda’s Cancer Institute at Mulago National Referral Hospital. The Cancer run project was initiated by Steven Mwanje at the time when he served as Governor of the Rotary District 9200 which covered five countries including Uganda.
Mwanje, who says he decided to take on the idea after he had lost a very close friend to cancer in 2010. Even after he left the position, Mwanje continues to advocate for expansion of cancer services saying the disease can impoverish patients and their families if services are not available.
He says the cancer run initiative has demonstrated that with collective action, some projects can be funded without the usual rhetoric that the government should come to rescue.
Majority of the funds has been contributed to by cooperates and members of parliament and generally individuals that turn for the run.