Mulago radiotherapy services overwhelmed with patients
Publish Date: Jul 21, 2014
Mulago radiotherapy services overwhelmed with patients
A radiotherapy machine
  • mail
  • img

By Violet Nabatanzi, David Lumu and Raymond Baguma

The number of cancer patients in need of radiotherapy services at Mualgo National Referral Hospital is overwhelming, hospital authorities have said.

Christine Namulindwa, the public relations officer of Uganda Cancer Institute said, “The machine is overwhelmed when you consider the number of patients it serves. In Uganda, patients cannot go anywhere else.”

The cobalt machine, which is critical in administering radiotherapy to cancer patients, broke down on 14th July although it has since been repaired and services resumed, according to hospital authorities.

Dr. Israel Luutu, the acting head of the radiotherapy department said that about 80 cancer patients on chemotherapy were affected when the machine stopped working.

Dr. Luutu said that early Monday morning this week, the machine experienced what he called ‘mechanical problems’ after treating very few patients and services were suspended.

Richard Kavuma, who has a cancer patient posted on media, “My mum misses 3rd straight day of her radiotherapy treatment. Mulago machine down since Friday. Hurts!”

Namulindwa said that some patients seeking radiotherapy come from as far as Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. The cobalt machine was installed at Mulago Hospital in 1995.

Dr. Luutu said that on average, the about 120 cancer patients receive radiotherapy on a daily basis at Mulago hospital.

Medical experts have severally raised concern about the steady rise in the number of Ugandans suffering from cancer. Cervical cancer is the commonest form of cancer among women followed by breast cancer.

The high incidence is blamed on the poor health seeking culture among Ugandans who often turn up late when the cancer is in advanced stages.

Last year, Dr Fred Okuku a consultant oncologist at Mulago said that in the last three years, the number of cancer patients shot up from 1,200 to 2,800 with over 60% of the patients presenting advanced cases of the diseases.

Dr. Luutu said, “We would need more than three radiotherapy machines because of the big number of patients.” He however could not provide the unit cost of each cobalt machine.


Uganda needs 5 radiotherapy machines

Uganda has one cancer machine

Procurement red tape leaves Mulago cancer patients stranded

Mulago to replace cancer machine

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
S. Sudan peace deal at
South Sudan's repeatedly broken peace deal is at a "critical stage", the African Union has warned, calling on rival forces to honour commitments amid fears it is close to collapse....
Pope prays for strife-torn Burundi
Pope Francis prayed for peace in the troubled central African nation of Burundi on Saturday and an end to months of strife that has sparked fears of renewed civil war....
Singh Katongole barred from contesting for MP
COURT has issued an interim order restraining Singh Katongole from contesting as the NRM Member of Parliament flag bearer for Rubaga North constituency...
Uganda Martyrs are inspirational - Pope Francis
POPE Francis paid homage to the 45 Uganda Martyrs at the newly renovated Catholic shrine in Namugongo, with emphasis on extending help to the needy...
450 traffic officers reprimanded over bribes
THE director of Traffic and Road Safety, Dr. Steven Kasiima has revealed that over 450 traffic officials were reassigned to other departments for misconduct and allegedly soliciting bribes from motorists...
Obey, Kunya pinned on NSSF pension scam
MARTIN Onya the acting commissioner in the department of compensations, Ministry of Public Service, has pinned Christopher Obey and Kiwanuka Kunsa on the misappropriation of the sh88b...
Is Uganda ready for the pope's visit?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter