Cancer patients could soon find hope after a run organised by Rotary International to facilitate the construction of a cancer ward at Nsambya Hospital, raised Shs100m. The ward will focus on breast and cervical cancer, which are the most prominent cancers among Ugandan women, and prostate cancer, which is prominent among men.
More than 10,000 people participated in the run, each buying a ticket at Shs10,000. Other funds will be sourced from the Jazz Safaris music show, which is slated for October.
The run was flagged off by Ms Geeta Manek, the Rotary District 9200 Governor (Eritrea, Kenya, S. Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda), and Olympic gold medalist, Stephen Kiprotich at Lugogo Cricket Oval .
Ms Manek thanked the corporates for partnering with rotarians ‘for a cause that touches everybody’. Mr Stephen Mwanje, the chairman Uganda Rotary Cancer Programme, said the ward will be finished by December and furnished next year.
“We shall organise another cancer run next year to raise money for buying facilities,” Mr Mwanje said. A cancer screening camp was also conducted where free testing for breast, cervical and prostate cancers was conducted.
Mr Mwanje advised women above 18 and 40 years to embrace cervical and prostate cancer testing. Mr Fabian Kasi, the managing director of Centenary Bank, said they are supporting the construction as a way of ‘giving back to the community’, while Health Minister Christine Ondoa lauded the organisations for being at the forefront of fighting cancer in Uganda.
The only facility that tests and treats cancer is the National Cancer Institute at Mulago hospital, but it is also faced with inadequate funding and is poorly equipped.
A 2009 World Health Organisation report shows that 1,932 women in Ugandan die of cervical cancer each year while more than 2,400 are diagnosed with the disease.