The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda, Hon. Sam .K. KUTESA, together with Hon. Robinah NABANJA Minister of State for Health yesterday received the Bhabhatron II Cobalt Radiotherapy Machine and Advanced Digital Radiotherapy Simulator from H.E Ravi SHAKAR the Indian High Commissioner to Uganda.
The equipment which is a donation from the Government of India to Uganda was commissioned in highly attended event. It will be used for Cancer treatment at the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) Mulago.
While delivering his statement as the Chief Guest, Hon Kutesa, conveyed a message of gratitude on behalf of the Government and people of Uganda for these Cancer Treatment machines donated by the Government and the people of India.
The Minister further hailed the excellent cordial bilateral relations deeply rooted in the history, shared values and culture of both countries.
The Minister further recalled the official visit of the Prime Minister of India His Excellency Narendra Modi paid a historic visit to Uganda in July 2018. This visit cemented further the relations between the two countries in many areas including health. During this visit the Prime Minister announced the donation of the Bhabhatron II Cobalt Radiotherapy Machine Cancer treatment machines.
Hon. Kutesa noted that these machines, will greatly improve the capacity of the Uganda Cancer Institute in handling cases of cancer, alleviating the suffering of cancer patients, and give better access to treatment. The Minister further emphasized that Uganda Cancer Institute is now a Center of Excellence of oncology in the whole of the East Africa region. Uganda is proud to host this center and the addition of this machine, will go a long way in supporting its important work in the fight against Cancer. The Minister further acknowledged the work of Professor Charles Olweny, the Board Chair Uganda Cancer Institute, for his contribution to the cancer fight as a researcher, oncologist and administrator.
The Minister acknowledged the need for additional support to be accorded to the Uganda Cancer Institute, reaffirmed his support, and that of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to continue to work with our development partners to mobilize more support in this important and critical area.
In her remarks, Hon. Robinah Nabanja, Minister of State for Health, also thanked the Government of India for the donation of these Radiotherapy Machine and Advanced Digital Radiotherapy Simulator which is a significant boost for Cancer treatment at the Uganda Cancer Institute in Mulago. She also paid a special tribute to Hon. Sam Kutesa and the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the tireless efforts made in mobilization and delivery of this much required facility.
Hon. Nabanja commended the Government of India for setting up a tele–medical Centre at Mulago Hospital complex. This center is connected to 11 reputed Indian hospitals and ensures quality medical consultation and treatment of patients, and provides training for Makerere University medical students.
The Minister recalled, that as early as 2016, the sole functioning radiotherapy machine in Uganda broke down, leaving 40 million people in this Uganda without access to this life-saving treatment. Following a request from the government, the IAEA provided expert services, staff training and procurement of equipment through its technical cooperation programme, leading to the procurement and installation of a new cobalt-60 machine and the re-establishment of radiotherapy services in the country.
The Government is committed to ensuring access to quality radiotherapy services and cancer treatment services with collaborations from various entities and states through Improving Access to Radiotherapy, Increasing Human Resources for cancer control and Improving Access to Cancer Medicines and Supplies , the Government has also supported the Uganda Cancer Institute improve her efficiency in procurement of cancer medicines and supplies.
Hon. Nabanja also commended, the staff of the Uganda Cancer Institute headed by Dr. Orem Jackson for using the miniature resources available to provide high quality cancer care as a Center of Excellency in Oncology in the East African region.
H.E Ravi SHAKAR the Indian High Commissioner to Uganda, noted with appreciation the reception of these Cancer treatment machines by the Government of Uganda and emphasized that this gesture is a gift of friendship by the Indian Government to assist in the treatment.
He further reiterated that India has not only become a preferred destination of choice for quality health care for Ugandans, but several Indian hospitals and business entities are exploring opportunities to set up specialist hospitals in Uganda. I wish to encourage more Indian Investors to invest in the health sector, where opportunities still abound.
In attendance were Representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), Members of Parliament, the Chairperson and Board UCI, Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Officials from the Ministry of Health, Officials from the Ministry of Energy & Mineral development & Officials from the Media Centre and other members of civil society organizations and the general public.