HUYE — University researchers have asked the government to step up cancer awareness campaign. They also urged for the improvement of the treatment of cancer patients in order to curtail its growing death.
This was during the annual Butare Medical Conference that started on Thursday December 13. Officially opening the Conference, the Chairman of the National university of Rwanda [NUR] board, Dr Theogene Rutagwenda noted that cancer like any other disease had no borders.
He said: “Cancer is no longer a preserve of the developed Countries but is now equally affecting low and middle income Countries. There is need to step up efforts in treatment and advocating for simple prevention measures like eating healthy diet and exercising.”
Rutagwenda commended researchers at the Faculty of medicine for their contribution in seeking solutions to make the lives of ordinary Rwandans better saying, “Such works are a fulfillment of the University’s motto: Excellence in Education and Service to the People.”
The 12th Conference under the theme “Cancer in Rwanda was organised by the NUR’s Faculty of Medicine and sponsored by NUR research commission, German Technical Cooperation and the Belgian Technical Cooperation.
The annual event that started in 1996 as Butare Medical Week-end has since gained regional and International participation.
Dr Louis Ngendahayo, a specialist in Anatomical Pathology at the Butare University Teaching hospital, citing a 2005 World Health report said that Cancer accounts for 3.9 percent of all deaths in Rwanda.
“According to the 2005 WHO report on cancer, there were 7.6 million deaths recorded 70 percent of these were from low and middle income countries, Rwanda inclusive,” said Ngendahayo.
“With cancer accounting for 3.9 percent of all deaths in Rwanda, there is need for a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approach in the implementation of programmes geared towards Cancer prevention and control,” he added.
Oda Nsabimana, the President of people living with cancer in Rwanda noted that cancer patients have succumbed early to the disease because of the high costs of accessing treatment.
“Cancer patients in Rwanda are referred to other East African Countries and Europe to seek treatment. The treatment costs are very high for ordinary Rwandans,” said Nsabimana.
“The cost of Nolvadex, which is not covered under the Mutuelles de sante- health insurance scheme- is so prohibitive and yet the drug is usually prescribed for 3-5 years,” added Nsabimana.
Various papers including those on Surgery and HIV/AIDS will be presented at the two day Conference. The conference has also attracted.