Compounded by the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cancer rates have risen to more than 20,000 fold in many African regions. Infectious diseases cause six of the ten most common cancers in Uganda. Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is the most widespread, with 975 new adult cases and 42 new child cases per annum. Nearly one in two Ugandans is infected with the human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8).
However, access to inexpensive chemotherapy is limited, with most patients either not receiving any treatment or only a single course of drugs. Therefore, the survival rate of cancer patients post diagnosis is dismal in Uganda. Most patients cannot afford transport costs and treatment. While treatment is supposed to be free at the Ugandan Cancer Institute (UCI), the cost of a course of the recommended medication is $450.00. The lack of government support in cancer treatment curbs the successful management of this disease.
"The UCI's bed capacity is far below the demand and the institute requires a budget that far exceeds that of the Mulago Teaching Hospital's total annual budget for operation, salaries, education and awareness campaigns, and most importantly procurement of drugs," explains Wentzel.
Greater awareness about cancer and access to treatment is essential in alleviating the disease burden in Sub-Saharan Africa.
"The Ugandan government should recognise cancer as a priority disease and focus a percentage of annual funding towards the management of this disease," concludes Wentzel. "Although donor funding will alleviate some of the strain, it is crucial for the country to have access to anti-cancer treatments."
The Pharmaceutical Industry in Key East African Countries is part of the Phar
|SOURCE Frost & Sullivan|
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