STAKEHOLDERS have raised 1.34bn/- during a recent fundraising for the construction of a cancer facility at Bugando Zonal Referral Hospital.
Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Dorothy Gwajima, led a fundraising event in the city.
About 46.7m/- was cash and 1.23bn/- pledges, with some stakeholders contributing 20 iron sheets and 3,325 cement bags worth 73,150,000/-.
Dr Gwajima was representing Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa at the event held mid-this week, affirming that the government had already set aside 1bn/- for the cause.
“The government wants to ensure all Tanzanians have access to best cancer treatment. However, I urge residents to cultivate a regular health testing culture for timely treatment,” she said, while praising the hospital for best service delivery.
“I express my gratitude to Bugando management for contributing 1bn/- . I also praise you all who have participated in this exercise. Once in use, the facility will have the capacity to accommodate 120 patients per day,” she said.
For his part, the hospital’s Acting Director, Dr Fabian Massaga, said the hospital was serving more than 17 million people from across the Lake Zone and neighbouring regions, mostly Kigoma and Tabora. It serves an average of 1,000 patients per day, equivalent to 365,000 per year, according to him.
“Cancer is a scourge that causes great pain and suffering as well as deaths for Tanzanians, thus, it is important to have a cancer centre. Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths in the world. In every 100,000 people, 76 are suffering from the disease. Cancer-related deaths reach 68 per 100 patients,” he revealed.
Giving testimony on behalf of her fellow residents, a resident of Biharamulo in Kagera Region, Ms Levina Ngahyoma, said cancer was treatable once diagnosed and treated in an early stage.
However, she urged the government to reduce the cost of cancer treatment so that many patients could have treatment.
“Some patients are not treated due to lack of financial resources as a result, many are dying. I praise Bugando Medical Centre for offering effective treatment and make me recover from such deadly breast cancer,” she said.