Israel has made a commitment to support Malawi’s efforts in developing its first specialised cancer centre at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eisenhower Mkaka disclosed this Saturday on arrival in Lilongwe from Jerusalem, Israel where he went at the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel, Gabi Ashkenazi.
Radiotherapy involves the use of high-energy particles or waves to destroy or damage cancer cells. Radiation is delivered using special equipment that sends high doses of radiation to the cancer cell or tumour.
Existing oncology wards at public hospitals such as KCH and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre plus a few private hospitals only offer chemotherapy.
Mkaka said the government of Israel has identified Sheba Medical Centre, one of the biggest medical centres in the world, to provide training for Malawian medical personnel including nurses and physicians.
He added that the two countries would exchange information in the areas of research and best practices including early detection of cancer through artificial intelligence.
“A team of medical experts is scheduled to travel to the country to undertake a gap analysis which will guide areas requiring support in the health sector,” he said.
He said Israel has agreed to provide tailor made courses to Malawi in areas of interest including health, education, science and innovation and any other areas of interest to the country.
Mkaka said the courses would run for a period of three weeks and would have 25 participants.
The construction of the Cancer Centre commenced in 2018 with a loan from OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) to the tune of K 10 billion.
It was reported that government will be saving K 480 million on cancer treatment referrals abroad annually.
It is estimated that, of the approximately 18,000 people develop cancer in the country each year, only about 20 percent will receive treatment.
It’s even difficult for patients on treatment to be seen by specialist.
The need for the national cancer centre came after research conducted by MoH established that less than five percent of cancer patients in Malawi had access to radiotherapy treatment.
In addition, the research found that there were 10 300 cancer cases presented to public hospitals in 2009, which is currently on the rise and patients have to travel to South Africa or India to receive treatment.
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