In case you are not caught up with the happenings in Uganda over the past couple of weeks, the country’s lone radiotherapy machine, housed in Mulago hospital broke down beyond repair.
The break down of the machine leaves the over 44,000 new Ugandan cancer patients, recorded by Uganda’s cancer institute, who need radiotherapy with nothing much beside a prayer.
The Aga Khan University Hospital in neighboring Kenya has said that it will do all it can to offset the negatives and encouraged other hospitals to follow suit. So how does this private, non-profit hospital hope to help Ugandan cancer patients? Simply; it has offered to cover the cost of 400 of them. Now while that may rightfully seem like a small number, the offer is laudable as exemplary, forward thinking action.
Aga Khan University Hospital’s CEO Shawn Bolouk said in a statement; “We are committed to working with the government of Uganda to help save the lives of cancer patients in need of treatment while it works to re-establish its radiation therapy capacity…Our values as an institution dictate nothing less. While we can only treat a small fraction of those requiring care, given our resources and the tremendous need that exists, we will do all we can to help, and we encourage others to follow our lead.”
The Ugandan government also fell in line with the plan by saying that it will cover the travel and other costs (accommodation and food as well as for those of a relative or friend if an attendant is needed) for the 400 people who will be going to the Nairobi hospital.
The government says it has purchased a new radiotherapy machine and it should be up and running in six months, once a special bunker has been built to house the radioactive equipment at Mulago Hospital in Kampala. Other treatments still remain available in Uganda in the meantime.