Patients suffering from cancer may have to wait a little longer to get a new cobalt 60 radiation machine after officials revealed that government hopes to have a new one in a period of at least one year from now.
Cobalt therapy or cobalt-60 therapy is the medical use of gamma rays from cobalt-60 to treat conditions such as cancer.
It offers radiation therapy, which kills or damages cancer cells.
It is used in more than half of all cancers.
Uganda’s only radiotherapy machine purchased in 1995 broke down for the last one month and over 33,000 cancer patients have been left stranded with many lacking financial muscle to seek the services abroad.
The cancer unit gets an estimated 44,000 new referrals annually from Uganda and other neighbouring countries including Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan and 75% of these need radiotherapy.
In response to the public concern over the growing incidents of cancer in Uganda, the government has responded by procuring new radiotherapy equipment for the Uganda Cancer Institute in Mulago.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, the Health Minister, Elioda Tumwesigye said the procurement of the 1.2billion shilling equipment had been delayed as a result of the construction of a bunker to house the machine.
This comes a few days after it was reported that the only radiotherapy machine at the cancer institute had broken down last week.