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Lack of Cancer Control Plan Complicates Cancer Response

The World Health Assembly passed a resolution in 2005 urging member states including Uganda to develop cancer control programmes and plans aimed at reducing cancer incidence and mortality and improving the quality of life of cancer patients and their families.
05 Feb 2020 14:26
Uganda Cancer Society Executive Director, Paul Ebusu says Uganda’s current cancer response to is not evidence-based

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The development, implementation and operationalization of a cancer control plan are key in cancer response but Uganda is yet to have one in place.

The World Health Assembly passed a resolution in 2005 urging member states including Uganda to develop cancer control programmes and plans aimed at reducing cancer incidence and mortality and improving the quality of life of cancer patients and their families.

Such a plan according to the Assembly should have had evidence-based strategies for prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care, and to evaluate the impact of implementing such programmes.

But Uganda Cancer Society Executive Director Paul Ebusu says that Uganda’s current cancer response is not evidence-based and that an operational cancer plan would have guided the reduction of the number of new infections, deaths and the improvement of the life of cancer patients.

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WHO is of the view that no matter what resource constraints a country faces when well-conceived and well-managed, a national cancer control programme helps reduce the cancer burden and improve services for cancer patients and their families.

But just a few countries in Africa have such control plans. Rwanda is the only country in East Africa with an operational cancer plan which emphasizes the development of basic facilities needed for care.

Ebusu, a Public Health expert by training told URN that in the absence of cancer control planning requires accurate data, including reliable cancer registries and monitoring and evaluation programmes to ensure programmes are appropriately prioritized and to assure quality. 

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Ebusu revealed that Uganda Cancer Society, Uganda Cancer Institute and World Health Organization have made some headway in developing a draft national Cancer control plan for Uganda.

The plan according to Ebusu was discussed in December last year. He, however, said the Uganda Cancer Institute was better placed to provide an update on developments since December.

Uganda Cancer Institute Executive Director Dr Jackson Orem told URN that the draft cancer control plan was still being worked on by a World Health Organisation-WHO consultant but he could not reveal further detail because he was chairing a meeting.

Studies by WHO and other agencies indicate that Uganda registers more than 60,000 cases of cancer per year. About 22,000 deaths occur in the country due to cancer.