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National Cancer Centre to cost US$8 million

The Ministry of Health has said the National Cancer Centre which government is planning to construct starting the next financial year will cost about US$8 million.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali said this in response to a questionnaire. He said government is currently in the final phases of planning for the National Cancer Centre.

“The ministry is in the final phases of planning. Depending on the financial situation, we hope to tender out for the construction of the centre by June 2013,” Chimbali said.

On the source of the funds, Chimbali said initially the project will be funded by government while exploring options from international funding agencies.

“The ministry is not currently fundraising for the project but once the funds are available and all the procurement processes are finalised construction of the cancer centre will commence,” Chimbali said.

Head of Non Communicable Diseases Unit (NCDU) in the Ministry of Health, Beatrice Mwagomba, recently said the National Cancer Centre will be of great help because with it, patients will no longer be required to go other countries for treatment.

“Government is spending a lot to have some cancer patients go to other countries for treatment because currently we do not have a place where such treatment can be accessed locally.

“With the cancer centre, it means patients will be able to access services like radiotherapy right here in Malawi,” Mwagomba said.

She added that the country does not currently offer some cancer treatment like radiotherapy not because there are no skills but because there are no facilities.

“This is why we need a National Cancer Centre because this also greatly impacts on our national development. Up to 77 percent of the cancer patients are between 15 and 59 years which is an economically productive age range,” Mwagomba said.

According to Mwagomba, Malawi registers about 2,800 new cancer infections every year and about 1,600 people die due to the disease every year and about 28 percent of HIV and AIDS deaths are due to cancer.

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