• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Call for getting tested for cancer


Feb 16, 2023

BUJUMBURA February 16th (ABP) – The National Integrated Program for the Fight against Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (PNILMCNT) of the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, organized on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, a scientific awareness Day on the different types of cancer in Burundi, on the sidelines of the activities planned for the celebration of World Cancer Day, 2023 edition, under the theme: “uniting our voices and acting”.

In his speech, the director general of the healthcare service, traditional medicine, food and accreditations (DGOSA), Dr Oscar Ntihabose, who represented the minister, said that this scientific day offers a good opportunity of reflection on the activities of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer carried out in the country. He recalled that cancer is a chronic disease that monopolizes significant resources.

He also specified that cancer leads to a phenomenon of intra-family dependence and places a considerable burden on health systems in general and on the systems of countries with limited resources. He also pointed out that cancer is a burden that poses a real threat to the human and economic development of the country.

Despite all those clarifications, Dr. Ntihabose pointed out that cancer is not inevitable. He explained that once diagnosed early, it is possible to cure cancer, while emphasizing that the best protection against cancer is prevention, awareness and early detection.

The director of PNILMCNT, Dr Jean de Dieu Havyarimana, indicated that in Burundi, according to data provided by Globocan in 2020, there were an estimated 7,929 new cases of cancer in Burundi, of which 19.9% represented cervical cancer, 10.1% breast cancer, 5.2% esophageal cancers and 42.2% for other cancers.

He added that the main warning signs of cancer in children and in adults are unexplained excruciating pain in the bones or in internal parts such as the abdomen and brain. He also cited the swelling of organs including the face, abdomen, thorax, lower or upper limbs, head. There is also the change in skin color especially for breast cancer. For gynecological cancers, there is bleeding during sexual intercourse, and vaginal discharge in women.

Concerning the challenges in relation to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, he pointed out that the Burundian population is not informed of those signs in order to be able to test and diagnose cancer at an early stage to hope for a cure.

For the care of patients, he underlined the challenge linked to the lack of suitable infrastructures, which meet the treatment requirements, the unavailability and the high cost of certain drugs used for chemotherapy. The other challenge is related to the lack of qualified human resources in cancer.

To deal with those challenges, he indicated that there is a strong commitment from the government to deal with those cancers. There are initiatives that are being made, including the establishment of a cancer control strategy 2023-2027. He also indicated that the Ministry of Health is working tirelessly for the establishment of a national reference center in oncology and that the step already taken is satisfactory. In the same vein, he recalled that the government of Burundi has just adopted the law on the medical use of ionizing rays.

Dr. Havyarimana took the opportunity to call on all actors to join forces for community awareness of early cancer detection. Note that World Cancer Day was celebrated in Burundi on February 15, in Bujumbura City Council.