REFER TO the article, “Cancer: Govt urged to scale up interventions” (The New Times, March 24). I thank The New Times for this article. It is really good to see such important subjects among topical issues in our media. I fear that a large effort is needed to ensure the country is ready to tackle cancers in a satisfactory way. Training doctors is good, but they need equipment and diagnostic screening capabilities.
For example, for breast cancer, mammograms are really the first choice as self-clinical breast tests are not reliable. In addition, pathology and radiotherapy are key in the management of these diseases.
We need to have a reliable pathology lab in the country, which is not yet the case...and without proper diagnosis it makes it difficult to choose the right treatment. Radiotherapy is important, but buying a machine is not the most difficult step.
There are IAEA standards to be met and this requires a significant investment in quality and safety procedures. Reaching our objectives in cancer care will require strong leadership and coordination with partners. We need a hospital that can cater for the entire population of Rwanda.
Butaro Hospital can serve as a starting point but its capacity remains the one of a district hospital. We need a hospital that is more centrally located and that will cater for the entire population. Financing and access to services need to be looked into as well. The best way to tackle this would be through public-private partnerships.