Urgent Appeal for Better Housing at Uganda Cancer Institute

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Uganda Cancer Institute Seeks Assistance for Improved Patient Accommodation

The Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala is facing a challenge with providing suitable accommodation for over 200 needy cancer patients. These patients are currently residing in tents, and the institute is reaching out to the government, well-wishers, and civil society organizations for assistance.

Recent heavy rains have exacerbated the situation, causing some patients to struggle with their tents sinking into muddy soil. While the institute has made progress in outpatient treatment by ensuring patients receive scheduled care, the tents have worn out, making it imperative to construct permanent structures.

Dr. Jackson Orem, the executive director of the Uganda Cancer Institute, emphasized the need for permanent housing for these outpatients who often come from distant locations. He stressed that without proper accommodation, these patients may miss their vital treatment appointments, affecting their care.

This call for help comes after a report earlier this year highlighted the inadequate accommodation facilities at the Cancer Care Hostel, where two temporary tents were donated but failed to meet the growing demand. The Prime Minister, Ms. Robinah Nabanjja, had visited the hostel in January and requested a list of priority requirements, but nearly 10 months later, the situation remains dire.

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In a positive development, last Friday, the Indian High Commissioner to Uganda, Upender Singh Rawat, along with Grant Thornton Uganda, donated 50 double-decker beds and 100 mattresses to the patients living in the tents. These donations were timely as the tents, initially pitched a year ago, had suffered significant damage due to recent heavy rains.

Ms. Fatina Nakalembe, the lead clinical navigation nurse, highlighted the improvements in patient treatment outcomes since the introduction of tents. Before this initiative, patients often abandoned treatment due to financial constraints and the lack of transportation between their homes and the hospital. Some patients even faced health risks during the rainy season, with low immunity and the vulnerability of sleeping in the open.

Mr. Anil Patel, the managing partner of Grant Thornton, explained that they had previously donated tents and bedding for the patients. He expressed their willingness to consider the institute’s request for permanent buildings in the future.

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