Uganda like many other countries in sub Saharan Africa continue to battle with increasing cases of blood cancers especially among children.
This is blamed on late or inaccurate diagnosis that has left patients in their comfort zone as the cancers expand. The ministry of health through the Uganda national health laboratory services has now acquired multibillion shillings equipment that will be able to detect even the tinniest cancer in the blood.
Among the common diseases is acute leukemia – a childhood cancer worldwide. Even with an improvement in the survival rate, patients in low-income countries only present when the cancers have grown which is blamed on inaccurate diagnosis.
Dr Jackson Orem the executive director of the Uganda Cancer Institute, says Uganda has been using microscopes to do these tests but it was hard to tell the dangerous receptors in the blood.
But even with the available technology Uganda Cancer Institute records 500 – 700 new children with cancers majority of them blood cancers. Burkett’s lymphoma contributes about 80% of cancers in children.
This should all change with ministry of health acquiring the latest equipment to diagnose cancers.
Dr Orem says the new technology will enable doctors to be able to tell the lineage of a cell, differentiating the cancerous and the normal cell.
According to the minister of health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the new test will apply to all patients across the country – with blood samples to analyzed at the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services.