Parliament approves Sh32b loan for cancer center in Northern Uganda
By Adiga Julius
Parliament has approved a motion for a resolution of parliament to allow the governments borrow up to 7.5m Euros (Sh32b) from Unicredit bank in Austria for the construction and equipping of oncology and diagnostic center in northern Uganda.
The Minister of State for primary health care Dr Joyce Mariku said in a statement presented to Parliament that the construction is in line with the national development plan 3 which puts a lot of focus on human capital development, aimed at increasing productivity.
The minister added that the same services being offered at Uganda cancer institute will be the same services provided at regional centers in line with the spirit of decentralization the ministry started with Mbarara, Arua,Mbale, and Gulu.
“We believe by decentralizing these services to the regions, it’s going to help the people of Uganda to these specialized services and be productive,’’ the minister explained.
She said that 30% of cancers can be cured completely when diagnosed early and treated early and that 30% of the cancers can be prevented if more effort is put in sensitization and awareness programs.
Supporting the loan request, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said; “Hon. Members i want to thank the minister and members of parliament, I have been an advocate of decentralization of these specialized services to move closer to the people”.
Gulu Municipality MP Lyndro Komakech also welcomed the move by the government to locate Gulu a center based on decentralization saying that cancer in Uganda has become a big problem.
“For us in northern Uganda, we welcome this with all the heartbeat, given the capacity of human resource in the ministry of health we believe that the cancer institute in northern Uganda is timely for the region and will cover beyond,” Komakech noted.
Agago woman MP Franka Akelo said that the center has excited the whole of northern Uganda because it historical moment to have such a facility
because of the bad experience the people of northern Uganda go through.
“Our people have been having challenges of cancer, they have got to travel all the way, from whichever part of northern Uganda, all the way to Mulago, which is of course overwhelming and having a center in northern Uganda will help reduce the burden of our people having to travel that distance,”she said.
She added that women will be the most beneficiary of the center because cancer of the cervix is a big challenge saying the women in northern have been lacking screening facilities.
Manjiya county Member of Parliament in Bududa district John Baptist Nambeshe called on the government through national planning authority to decentralize oncology centers , be extended now that the north has received, attention should be given to the remaining regions particularly the East to avoid late delayed referrals as a result of long-distance.
“This is a loan worth supporting because madam speaker, am going through very painful experience attending to my father battling prostate cancer,” so am a regular visitor to Mulago,” Nambeshe said.
Kumi Municipality MP Silus Aogon thanked the ministry of finance and the committee on the National Economy committee for supporting the loan of which he is a member.
“Madam Speaker if there is a loan that has made me satisfied and happy ,it’s this one, but the rest of the loans I have always dreamt about them, but this one particularly am happy.”Hon Silus stated.
The construction of the center located in omroro is expected to be
completed in a period of two years.
The center facility to be constructed in northern Uganda is one of the four that has been envisaged with other centers to be built in Mbarara, Arua, and Mbale.