Aga Khan University Hospital, UCI lead in cancer care

Aga Khan, UCI lead in cancer care
Aga Khan University hospital is the best cancer treatment centre in East Africa in terms of uninterrupted access to essential cancer drugs a study revealed based on research as it attained highly for both public and private care.

Meanwhile the Ugandan Cancer Institute emerged as the public health facility in terms of availability of cancer drugs.

This was revealed following the two day International conference on childhood cancer and the study was done by experts at the Access to Childhood Cancer Essentials Initiative a global collaboration aimed at increasing the survival rate for children with cancer.

According to Dr Avram Denburg a specialist in childhood cancer from Canada presented the report at the conference said the study was done in eight cancer treatment centres in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.

Dr Avram further said the study was done by local investigators who assessed drugs that were available, those that were not available and price of childhood cancer drugs.

He noted that although Uganda performed well in the ranking some important medicines weren’t available.

“ Stock-outs were evident at both urban and rural sites, academic and community hospitals and public and private institutions,” the report stated.

In Uganda, five cancer drugs out of 27 medicines were not available. This is lower than Aga Khan University Hospital with only four of 27 medicines out of stock by the time of the research.

For Jaramogi hospital, as high as 11 drugs were out off stock and the availability of other drugs was also not consistent during the study period according to the report. The cancer drugs that were not at the UCI during the study period included pegaspargase, Trioguanine, Procarbazine, irinotecan and Cyclophosphamide.

According to Dr Jackson Orem the executive director of UCI while commenting, said the institute had been able to achieve much because of increased government funding and support from partners.

…” the UCI has put measures in place to ensure medicines are readily available to all patients both young and old at no cost,”said Dr Orem.

Dr Orem said that during Covid 19 pandemic when countries were worried about access to medicines the institute was fully stocked with no worries of stock outs.

The health minister Dr Ruth Aceng said UCI was excelling because the government made it an autonomous body that can procure its own medicines and they are collaborating well with the National Drug Authority.

She added that the availability of cancer drugs at the institute was at 90 percent. However citing data from the World Health Organisation, Dr Joyce Kambugu the head of paediatric cancer department at UCI said that globally 429000 childhood cancer cases are registered annually and of this 40% are in Africa.

She added that around 3000 children develop cancer every year in Uganda with 600 coming to UCI.

Dr Avram Denburg a specialist in childhood cancer from Canada said there was need for East African countries to unite and do pooled procurement of cancer drugs.

He advised countries to have clear data on childhood cancer and drugs needed to treat the diseases for ease of advocacy.

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