A regional cancer center of excellence which will serve IGAD member states will be built in Addis Ababa at a cost of 450 million USD.
The regional cancer initiative has come to address challenges related to cancer in the IGAD region, which comprises of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.
According to IGAD, cancer patients in the region do not have access to some or all of the essential services due to shortage of trained personnel, treatment facilities and reliable communication network and referral systems.
The center which will provide training on oncology, hematology, and radiation oncology, among others, after finalizing in two years, is expected to ease shortage of trained personnel.
The center will be instrumental in determining the means to mitigate the cancer burden, inform the public about early symptoms and signs, and train health professionals on prevention and control.
The center is estimated to cost 450 million USD. IGAD and the government of Ethiopia held a one-day event that aimed to mobilize resource for the realization of the center.
Ethiopia’s Minister of Health and Chairperson of IGAD Health Ministers, Amir Aman said the Ethiopian government will play the lion’s share in financing the project.
He noted that the center has become important due to shortage of trained personnel in the region where the number of cancer patients is increasing.
The Minister said that the number of health workers, who treated cancer in the Africa, does not exceed 2,000, most of them are in South Africa and Egypt.
Currently, one cancer doctor would treat an average of 1.5 million people in East Africa, which is home to approximately 260 million people, he added.
The center is expected to benefit regional and national cancer programs in human resource development, which in return will enable them to improve access to health services, he added.