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Patient to Doctor Ratio Worries Doctors at UCI

Dr. Jackson Oryem, the Director Uganda Cancer Institute, says there are only 14 doctors at the institute, which is a very minimal number.

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The patient to doctor ratio at Uganda Cancer Institute is worrying. The poor patient to doctor ratio at the Institute has become an issue of concern to the directors, saying it hinders effective service delivery to patients.

Dr. Noleb Mugisha, the head of Training and Research UCI, says that they are trying to increase the number of doctors at the institute.

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Dr. Jackson Oryem, the Director Uganda Cancer Institute, says there are only 14 doctors at the institute, which is a very minimal number. "We only have 14 specialists with each attending to around 2.5 million patients based on the country's population,” he said.

According to data from UCI, cancer is on the increase in the country. At least 5000 people were treated for cancer at the institute last year compared to 4000 in 2016. According to UCI, prostrate, breast and ovarian cancer   are on the increase in the country.

The most common cancers in the country include; cervical, breast and prostate cancers. Dr. Nixon Niyonzima, head of Pediatric Cancers, says that the institute has only four doctors handling children yet children cancers are on the increase.  "The institute has only two doctors treating patients but we expect another four doctors to graduate this month to decrease on the burden,” he said.

Niyonzima says there are efforts being to see that the institute gets more specialized doctors to offer treatment to patients. Dr. Diana Atwine, the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, says the high number of patients is caused by the poor health seeking habits of Ugandans. 

She says that people need to go for regular checkups that will enable doctors curb the disease early.

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In addition to the patient-doctor ratio, the institute is also facing congestion to the extent that some patients are sleeping down on floors and other are using the compound at the institute as hospital wards.