Kasese residents demand cancer screening at lower health facilities

Kasese, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents of Kasese district are asking the government to put cancer screening services at lower local health facilities. They also want government to prioritize the establishment of screening centres for all types of cancers.

Speaking during the cancer screening and awareness campaign, Selvest Masereka, the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu-OBR Minister in charge of land, agriculture and environment said that accessibility to cancer services especially for hard-to-reach areas like Kasese remains very low and this is hindering early diagnosis and treatment.

He said that many families and individuals cannot afford the cost of seeking screening and treatment from far places, the nearest facility being Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital.

Julius Akanyesiga, a resident of Kidodo cell in Railway ward, said that due to the absence of cancer screening services at lower health facilities, many people are diagnosed when it is already too late. He also appeals to the government to offer routine free cancer screening services to the hard-to-reach areas.

Niziforo Kamara, another resident says that whereas they are aware of the importance of cancer screening, they lack the funds to reach facilities outside the district for these services.

He also decried the absence of cancer screening for men in the lower health facilities.

Immaculate Kabugho from Karambi sub county, wants screening extended to health centre IIs where most mothers go for their antenatal.

Harriet Biira, a nursing officer at Kasese municipal health centre III underscored the need to spread cancer services across the district, noting the importance of early detection in cancer treatment. She added that like many major facilities in the district, Kasese municipal health centre III screens only cancer of the cervix.

Dr Benjamin Mwesige, the head of pharmacy at Uganda Cancer Institute-UCI told URN that the institute has been alarmed by the increasing number of cancer patients that are coming from Kasese district in the last year.

He noted that the institute is undertaking a national control plan aimed at increasing public awareness about the disease.

Annually, over eight million deaths occur due to cancer with about 70% of these occurring in middle and low-income countries.

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