The East African Development Bank (EADB) plans to train 600 medical professionals specialising in cancer treatment, as part of its corporate social responsibility, members of the East African Legislative Assembly said Thursday.
The larger plan is to train hundreds of medical practitioners in the fields of neurology and oncology, which the regional parliament is sitting in Tanzanian capital, Dodoma, heard last week.
Neurology, a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system caters of diseases such as stroke, dementia, seizures, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s while oncology deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
The revelation came on the floor of the House while sub-committee heads presented reports on the February on-spot assessment of the EAC’s institutions, projects and facilities on the central and northern corridors.
MP Mathias Kasamba (Uganda), the head of the team that traversed the northern corridor from Mombasa, Kenya to Kigali in Rwanda, said that the bank which in 2015 was rated the best performing development finance institution in Africa by the Association of African Development Finance Institutions, is also engaged in productive sectors of the regional economies.
“Members were informed that the bank had embarked on training medical practitioners in the fields of neurology and oncology. It is a four year programme.
The lawmaker reported that the bank started by training public lawyers and judges in matters related to the extractive industry, another area where the six-member bloc is lacking in skilled or professional human resources.
Despite all, however, lawmakers observed a kind of disconnect and recommended that the Council of Ministers review the structure of the bank so that it can have closer links with the EAC.
MP Oda Gasinzigwa (Rwanda) who was on the northern corridor team also commended the bank for its big heart. She told Sunday Times that it was a good gesture considering the challenges the region faces especially when it comes to cancer diagnosis and treatment.
“I think that deciding to sponsor this kind of education programme is a milestone in East Africa; for institutions to go beyond their main mandate and look at the challenges that exist in partner states.
“Cancer is, without doubt, a big challenge and we have challenges in our hospitals where we have doctors being trained but still, we have shortages,” Gasinzigwa said:
Efforts by Sunday Times to get a comment from the bank were not successful.
EADB was established in 1967. Its roles and responsibilities have evolved over the past decades and it has extended frontiers of development banking into new products and services.
It has two categories of shareholders: Class A comprises four EAC partner states; Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. There are also plans to bring Burundi on board.
Class B comprises development finance institutions such as the African Development Bank, Commercial Bank of Africa, SBIC Africa Holdings of South Africa, the Stockholm-based Nordea Bank, and Barclays Bank (London), among others. Class A holds 88 shareholding while class B has 12.
It has a loan portfolio of $190.06 million, shareholders equity of $251.17 million and net income of $7.58 million.