The Uganda Cancer Institute has issued a plea to the government, well-wishers, and civil society organizations for urgent assistance in providing improved accommodation for over 200 vulnerable cancer patients currently residing in tents.
Dr. Jackson Orem, the executive director of the Uganda Cancer Institute, expressed deep concern over the situation while receiving a donation of 50 double-decker beds and 100 mattresses last Friday.
He emphasized the need for permanent structures to house the growing number of cancer patients who are currently living in tents.
“These patients are not in-patients; they are out-patients who come from distant places.
They lack proper accommodations. Having permanent facilities will enable us to ensure they keep their appointments for continued care. Without this, out-patients may miss their essential treatments,” he explained.
In January, following a report on the conditions at the Cancer Care Hostel, which included the use of temporary tents for patient accommodation, Prime Minister Ms. Robinah Nabanjja visited the hostel to assess the living conditions.
During her visit, she requested the Uganda Cancer Institute management to list the priority needs of the patients. Nearly ten months later, the facilities have not significantly improved.
Last week, the Indian High Commissioner to Uganda, Upender Singh Rawat, along with the staff of the audit firm Grant Thornton Uganda, donated beds and mattresses to patients residing in the tents.
It was evident that the tents, which were initially pitched a year ago, had deteriorated due to the current weather conditions.
Some patients, who had set up camping tents within the hostel compound, were seen struggling to retrieve them from muddy soil following heavy rainfall in recent weeks.
Ms. Fatina Nakalembe, the lead clinical navigation nurse, noted that since the introduction of the tents for accommodating needy patients last year, there has been a significant improvement in their treatment outcomes.
Patients can now adhere to their treatment schedules. Previously, many patients had to abandon their treatment due to financial constraints preventing them from traveling between their homes and the hospital.
This often led to dire health consequences.
Mr. Anil Patel, the managing partner of Grant Thornton, shared that they had initially donated tents to the patients last year and were subsequently informed of the need for bedding.
Therefore, they contributed beds and mattresses during their international corporate social responsibility day. He also mentioned their intention to explore the request for permanent buildings to address this critical issue.