Government to assist more cancer patients at Blantyre Cancer Centre

Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda says the government is expediting the process of entering into the Memorandum of Understanding with the International Blantyre Cancer Centre on the service level agreement to ensure that low-income cancer patients who have been on a long waiting list get assistance at the facility on government bill.

The minister said this on Wednesday in Blantyre when she inspected the cancer centre to appreciate services currently being offered to cancer patients.

Although the International Blantyre Cancer Centre currently receives patients from Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and a few Malawians who afford to access services on medical aid and cash payment, the authorities complained that most Malawian patients who are battling with cancer cannot afford to pay for treatment due to exorbitant fees.

Chiponda said: “The cancer burden in Malawi is quite huge, especially with breast cancer, cervical cancer, cancer of the oesophagus, and Kaposi sarcoma. We have many Malawians who are really suffering from different types of cancer and lack essential services, especially radiotherapy.

“Blantyre Cancer Center is providing both chemotherapy and radiotherapy and as government, we will expedite the process of finalizing the agreement so that Malawians can start coming here to access the services.”

The minister disclosed that the government made a service charge agreement with the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) such that low-income earners access medical services in CHAM facilities.

“We already made a similar agreement with CHAM hospitals, whereby they provide services to the people and the government pays for them. We want the same to be done with the cancer centre,” she added.

She said it was not worth it for the International Blantyre Cancer Center to only utilise 20 per cent of its capacity when its investment is so much.

International Blantyre Cancer Centre, Chief Medical Officer, Wanangwa Namelo encouraged the government to fast-track the service level agreement to ensure that cancer patients receive treatment at the facility regardless of their economic status.

“A good move would be for us to offer cancer treatment to patients who cannot afford to pay for themselves. The cancer centre can treat more patients.

“We also encourage organisations to engage with us and see how best we can treat as many people as possible because we know that there are a lot of cancer patients out there whose conditions are getting worse while they are waiting and sadly, some are even dying when this facility is now here,” said Namelo.

Early this year, President Lazarus Chakwera inaugurated the multi-million-dollar state-of-the-art International Blantyre Cancer Center.

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