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Cancer Institute to Test their Patients for COVID-19

Orem says during the last four months, they have had to refer some suspected COVID cases for testing elsewhere. While all their referrals finally tested negative, he said cancer patients are at risk of getting fatally affected by COVID-19 and yet the doctors who work on them also risk being exposed especially when they have to conduct surgeries.

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Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) is embarking on screening all their patients for the disease before seeking care for their various cancers.

The development comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is rising and some succumbing to the viral respiratory disease.

Dr. Jackson Orem, the Executive Director of the Institute revealed on Wednesday that they are awaiting accreditation to conduct Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), the standard test method in Uganda from the Ministry of Health and the approval process ends in a week’s time.

He also revealed that they will in addition carry out antibody tests with a donation of 30,000 COVID-19 antibody test kits from the US based Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center which are set to benefit both their staff and patients.

Dr. Orem says during the last four months, they have had to refer some suspected COVID-19 cases for testing elsewhere. While all their referrals finally tested negative, he said cancer patients are at risk of getting fatally affected by COVID-19 and yet the doctors who work on them also risk being exposed especially when they have to conduct surgeries.  

//Cue in: “That is going ….    

Cue out: ….. do the testing.”//

 

Dr. Orem was giving an account of how the institute performed during the just ended Financial Year 2019/2020. He said that while they have pushed through the COVID-19 lockdown without encountering major challenges, the number of new patients reporting to the institute has increased to 7000 and yet usually new patients per year would rotate around 5000.

The high numbers are partly attributed to the opening of a regional cancer center in Mbarara.

However, with the institute embarking on carrying out COVID-19 tests on their patients, their laboratory will add on the already accredited 8 laboratories to do the tests.

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