ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
Cancer is killing more people in Eastern Africa than tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/Aids combined, said an Ethiopian-born Canadian physician and researcher on Monday.
Dr. Melaku Game, a hematologist, was speaking during an event organized by East Africa’s eight-nation trading and security bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
The aim of the event was to mobilize resources for the planned establishment of a regional center of excellence on cancer.
“Cancer is killing too many people to be ignored,” Game, who was involved in the inception of the project told a gathering of scientists, pertinent officials and donors in Addis Ababa.
A decade ago, IGAD had decided to establish a center of excellence for cancer, a project that has not yet taken off due to resource constraints, even though the government has allocated a plot of land for the construction of the center.
“We have faced financial, material and manpower center and we have been soliciting these resources,” Mahboub Maalim, IGAD’s executive secretary, told Anadolu Agency.
The resource mobilization conference that will conclude on Tuesday, he said, would kick start the process of establishing the center.
Speaking at the event, Ethiopian Minister of Health Amir Aman said cancer was becoming a major killer in the region where there were only 200 oncologists.
According to him, the proportion of oncologists to population is 1:1.5 million in East Africa, by far exceeding the global average of 1: 28,000.
According to a document circulated at the event, the proposed Regional Cancer Center of Excellence (RCCE) would provide trainings in all aspects of oncology, hematology, Radiation oncology and allied health professionals related to the discipline.
The center would give diagnostic, treatment, care and support services in addition to serving a regional pathology review center, center for clinical trials and regional statistic center for Oncology.