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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Rwanda aims to reduce cancer mortality by 10 pct by 2021       

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- The Rwanda government is determined to establish needed infrastructure and train specialists to achieve its target of reducing cancer mortality by 10 percent by 2021, a senior official has said.

Efforts are being put in training Rwandan doctors in oncology, Rwandan state minister for health Patrick Ndimubanzi said late Monday at Butaro Hospital cancer treatment center in northern Rwanda.

He was addressing delegates from the global cancer community, who were in Rwanda to attend a cancer conference, which opened Tuesday in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

Two Rwandans have been sent to Ghana to study medical physics to be able to run radiotherapy machines in Rwanda while others are studying in Tanzania and Kenya, Ndimubanzi said.

The minister highlighted the government’s undertakings geared to fighting cancer and non-communicable diseases, including decentralization of cancer and non-communicable diseases services, mass awareness campaigns on healthy life styles and offering high-risk groups free hepatitis B vaccination to prevent liver cancer.

Tharcisse Mpunga, director of Butaro Hospital cancer treatment center, stressed the need to step up radiotherapy and train Rwandan specialists to reduce the need to rely on expatriate doctors.

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EARLIER REPORT:

Experts seek sustainable solutions to address cancer prevalence in Africa

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Health experts from across Africa and beyond on Tuesday sought more solutions to tackle cancer prevalence in Africa, which is rising at an alarming rate.

They were attending the 11th International Conference on Cancer in Africa (AORTIC 2017), which opened Tuesday in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

The theme of the four-day conference, which runs through Nov. 10, is “Cancer in Africa: Making Strides, Creating Solutions.”

“Despite the many efforts made by African governments to improve their respective health sectors, many Africans continue to succumb to cancer,” said Jean-Marie Kabongo Mpolesha, president of the AORTIC.

“We should focus more on tangible solutions to ensure that cancer cases on the continent are properly handled and addressed,” he said.

Early cancer diagnosis and prevention should be a priority of every government and health institutions across the continent, Mpolesha said.

Cancer remains the deadliest disease in Africa and little is done to address the scourge, Mpolesha said, adding that over 20 percent of African countries have no access to cancer treatments at all, while access is limited and irregular in other countries.

The conference has brought 900 health specialists, including oncologist, nurses, scientists, advocates, policymakers, trade representatives, from the global cancer community, according to organizers.

As more Africans strive to attain middle-income status, cancer rates are climbing rapidly and most countries on the continent are ill-equipped for the fight against cancer, according to Lynette Denny, principal specialist and head of Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Groote Schuur Hospital in South Africa.

“Illiteracy and ignorance about cancer are widespread in Africa,” she said. “Creating awareness campaigns about early screening, detection and effective treatment is central toward addressing cancer prevalence and its impact to people on the continent.”

Denny called for concerted efforts to ensure palliative care to late-stage cancer patients.

Opening the event, First Lady of Rwanda Jeanette Kagame said the fight against cancer diseases calls for an increase and diversity of partnerships and collaborations.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 1 million people in Africa will be dying of cancer annually by 2030.

The WHO estimates that 70 percent of all cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries where resources for prevention, diagnosis and treatment are limited or nonexistent.

           

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