By Agnes Kyotalengerire
A total of 440,000 women across Uganda will receive cervical cancer screening and 40,000 others will be able to receive cryotherapy treatment.
The cervical cancer screening using visual inspection with Ascetic (VIA) will be accessed in 410 locations. Another 40 locations will be offering lifesaving preventive therapy by cryotherapy machine throughout the four regions of Uganda by 2016.
Patients found with cervical cancer will be referred to Mulago, Mbale and Gulu referral hospitals for treatment for radiotherapy and palliative care.
The US$580,000 (about sh1.5b) is a partnership initiative between Ministry of Health, Marie Stopes, program for Accessible health, Communication and Education (PACE) and Reproductive Health Uganda with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
This was revealed during a media briefing on the launch of the cervical cancer prevention and treatment initiative at the Ministry of Health gardens on Wednesday.
Though Uganda launched a strategic plan for cervical cancer prevention and control in 2010 to 2014, today Ugandan women face a lack of accessible screening locations and functioning treatment centers and cervical cancer largely remains a common cause of cancer-related death in Uganda.
The launch will to be incorporated in the national Event commemorating World Cancer Day in Sheema district on Friday 8th February.
In his speech, Jon Cooper the chief of party Marie Stopes Uganda said the initiative to last four years is aimed at taking services directly to women aged between 30 and 49 years in underserved communities.
He added that the initiative will utilize both public and private outlets to achieve a rapid, scalable impact to meet women’s health needs and have inter-agency and inter-sector referrals.
Sarah Kataike, minister of state for health (general duties) said prevention of cancer is beyond the mandate of the health sector. Kataike urged people in government and private sector to work together and unnecessary premature deaths caused by non-communicable diseases including cervical cancer.
According to data from Ministry of health, Cervical cancer is one of the two most common causes of cancer related deaths in Uganda where 3,577 women are diagnosed every year and about 2,464 die from this disease which is both preventable and curable once detected early.
Kataike said non–communicable disease including cancer are now the leading killer diseases globally and are on the increase.
World Health Organization estimates that non-communicable diseases are responsible for 63% of deaths and 80% of these deaths occurred in low and middle income countries including Uganda.
She added that in Uganda studies and experts estimate that up to 300,000 people might be living with cancer and unfortunately less than 30,000 (10%) seek treatment at the health facilities.