BUJUMBURA February 17th (ABP) – The Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS celebrated the World Cancer Day in general and childhood cancer in particular under the theme: “Uniting our voices and acting” to raise awareness among the people of Burundi on strategies to prevent cancer.
The ceremonies began with the visit and distribution of food and non-food aid including rice, beans and soap to cancer patients hospitalized at the Kinindo medical and surgical center (CMCK).
On that occasion, the head of the oncology department, Dr. Jean de Dieu Nziyumvira, said that cancer is a reality in Burundi. He said that for more than two years of existence of the oncology department at CMCK, some 1427 patients have consulted the oncology department. Of these, 465 cases including 390 adults and 75 children were treated.
In adults, breast cancer comes first with 40.7% (159 cases) against 34% of all other types of cancer.
For pediatric cancers at the CMCK, he pointed out that in children, we find the development of tumors in the lymphatic organs (lymphoma), kidney cancer which is the most common in children (Nephroblastoma), cancer which starts in muscle cells (Rhabdomyosarcoma), cancer that starts in blood stem cells (Leukemia) and other solid tumors.
Dr. Nziyumvira took the opportunity to ask parents to go to the doctor as soon as possible, whenever they see something worrying on the body of their children, instead of thinking about obscurantism.
He asked the ministry in charge of health to contribute to the sensitization of the sick since there are some who interrupt the medicines prescribed by the doctor by replacing them with traditional medicine or prayer. “We must pray and at the same time take the drugs prescribed by the doctor”, he added.
The Director General of CMCK, Mr. Éloge Mugisha, spoke about the different challenges such as patients who come at the advanced stage of the disease, the lack of certain technologies necessary for the early detection of certain types of cancer such as radiotherapy, few specialists in oncology, the instability of the electrical current that causes certain devices, including scanners, to be damaged.
He asked the Ministry of Public Health to intervene, within the framework of public and private partnership, to find, together, solutions to those challenges.
In his speech, the assistant to the minister of public health and the fight against AIDS, Dr Isidore Ntiharirizwa, indicated that in Burundi, the statistics of cancer patients are not yet available due to the absence of a national cancer center.
In addition, he asked the people of Burundi to avoid smoking, drug consumption, excessive alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle and other causes of cancer. He advised Burundians to adopt a healthy lifestyle, to practice physical activity, to undergo an early test in order to fight effectively against that disease. He also called on all key actors to combine efforts for community awareness of early detection of cancer. He specified that the government of Burundi is in the process of deploying many efforts aimed at improving the management of cancer.