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Charges Will Improve Cancer Treatment Services – Dr Oryem

Until last month, patients at the Uganda Cancer institute received services at no cost. However, they are now required to pay up to 300,000 for radiotherapy treatment. Under the procedure, radioactive waves are used to kill cancer cells and to stop them from spreading all over the body, usually in combination with a collection of medicines.
10 Dec 2018 20:08

Audio 3

The Executive Director of Uganda Cancer Institute Dr Jackson Oryem is optimistic that phasing out free services from the institute will help to improve service delivery.

Until last month, patients at the Uganda Cancer institute received services at no cost. However, they are now required to pay up to 300,000 for radiotherapy treatment. Under the procedure, radioactive waves are used to kill cancer cells and to stop them from spreading all over the body, usually in combination with a collection of medicines.

Under the new policy, patients on private arrangements will be charged up to 500,000 Shillings for the service while international patients will pay USD 2,000. The amount covers 25 radiotherapy sessions.

According to Dr Oryem, the institute incurs a cost of 12,000 for each session a patient undergoes, a cost which presented a big load under the previous arrangement where services were provided at no cost.  He told journalists in Kampala today that the cancer institute has the mandate to raise revenues in order to run smoothly.

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Earlier Dr Oryem decried the low funding to the Cancer Institute adding that the unit needs up to 120 billion Shillings o be able to provide cancer treatment services more efficiently. But currently, the Uganda Cancer Institute is operating on a budget of 8.6 billion Shillings almost half of which is spent on salaries.

The Head of the Accounts Department of the Institute Ddungu Ndawula says that the institute only generates 1.8 billion Shillings as part of non-tax revenue which is not enough for the services required.

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According to Oryem, Uganda Cancer Institute receives over 50, 000 cancer patients annually. Of these, 10 percent are international patients, 5 percent non-Ugandans living in Uganda and the rest are Ugandans.

However, Oryem adds that they have put a waiver for patients categorized under the automatic category through which patients that come in under critical or emergency conditions will be treated at no cost.  Consideration will also be given to persons who will genuinely be found to be unable to pay for the treatment.

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