BUJUMBURA February 21st (ABP) – The Ministry of Public Health and the fight against AIDS organized on Friday, February 18th, 2022 at the Kinindo medical and surgical center (CMCK) located in Bujumbura City Council, the ceremonies marking the celebration of World Cancer Day, 2022 edition, under the theme: “For fairer care.”
During those ceremonies, the Minister of Public Health and the fight against AIDS, Dr Sylvie Nzeyimana, granted an aid consisting of food including rice, beans and soaps to cancer patients hospitalized at that hospital to support them. She also donated a device that will be used in the treatment of cancer-related pathologies.
Dr. Nzeyimana commended the step already taken by the CMCK by having a service that takes care of cancer patients, who before had to seek intervention abroad. She took that opportunity to invite other hospitals to follow suit.
According to Dr. Nzeyimana, the celebration of World Cancer Day is an opportunity to sensitize people to get tested and seek treatment when symptoms begin to appear.
She said that the theme chosen for this year marks the start of a three-year campaign that aims to raise awareness around the world about cancer and its impact, especially on the most vulnerable citizens. The minister said that in Burundi, cancer is one of the diseases that constitute a public health problem. The available data estimated 7929 new cases of cancer in 2020. Of these, 19.9% represented breast cancer, 9.5% prostate cancer, 6% Kaposi’s sarcoma, 5.2% cancers esophageal and 49.2% for other cancers.
Regarding challenges, she pointed out the lack of awareness and education, limited access to primary prevention and early cancer detection services, as well as delays in diagnosis and treatment. Access to palliative care and pain relief is also limited.
Mrs. Nzeyimana did not forget to point out that the shortcomings noted are exacerbated by the shortage of specialists in essential fields. She cited medical and radiation oncology. As the fight against cancer risk factors is a priority, the minister took that opportunity to invite the people of Burundi to avoid smoking, excessive alcoholism, malnutrition, physical inactivity which are some of the causes of cancer. People are also called upon to consult the doctor in time.
For future prospects, the minister in charge of Public Health has promised the construction of a national cancer reference center in Burundi, capacity building for healthcare personnel so that they can help sensitization. Awareness will also be done to prevent chronic diseases including cancer.
The Managing Director of CMCK, Mr. Eloge Mugisha, expressed his thanks to the Minister for that charitable act. He said that the hospital still has many challenges in relation to the management of cancer pathologies. He pointed out the laboratory equipment which is still insufficient and others which are not yet available. He further asked government for support within the framework of public-private partnership.
The representative of the WHO in Burundi, Dr. Xavier Crespin, said that each year, Africa registers about 1.1 million new cases of cancer, and up to 700,000 deaths from the consequences of that disease. He said children are also inequitably affected. Of more than 400,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year worldwide, around 90% live in low-income countries. Survival rates are very low, at least 20% in African countries, compared to over 80% in developed countries.
According to Dr. Crespin, it is urgent to redouble their efforts to reduce the number of new cases of cancer. In that context, the WHO representation in Burundi is committed to supporting the country in the process of setting up a national cancer reference center, which center will augur a bright future for cancer patients in Burundi, who will now be able to benefit from appropriate and effective care.