Posted by Denis Jjuuko on Aug 05, 2018

A few months ago, a friend had his father diagnosed with prostate cancer and they had to fly him to India for treatment. As he ran around for the visa at the Indian High Commission in Kampala, he realized that there were about 100 people everyday submitting papers for medical visas.

At the small hospital where my friend’s father was admitted in Mumbai, they receive on average 20 patients every month from Uganda alone. The average cost for such treatment is USD 20,000. So Ugandans every month spend on average USD 400,000 at this hospital and in Mumbai. That is approximately Shs1.6b every month. And yet the majority of Ugandans who seek medical treatment in India go to hospitals in New Delhi. So if 100 Ugandans go to India to every month spending USD 20,000 on average, that is USD 2m or Shs 8b. 

While some other people who have social media influencers and colleagues in high places do fundraisers to enable them travel to India, Kenya, and South Africa among others, the majority of Ugandans can’t afford this treatment out of this country so once they are diagnosed with cancer, it is most likely a death sentence. There have been stories running in the media of what it takes to be treated at Mulago. Many people according to these reports are stranded there.

On Wednesday July 11th, Rotarians walked into Speaker Rebecca Kadaga’s office to launch the Rotary Cancer Run this year. Kadaga had accepted to this meeting and Rotary had mobilized its top honchos led by District Governor Sharmila Bhatt. At one stage, the Speaker was asked to pick a placard and she chose one which had “I am running for my dad.” The boardroom went silent for a few minutes and some people were seen with tears forming in their eyes.

Like Speaker Kadaga, you probably also know somebody who has died of cancer and you may consider to do something. Something that could benefit all of us. Through the Rotary Cancer Run, now in its seventh year, Rotarians with support from partners and friends have managed to build a cancer treatment at Nsambya Hospital even though it still lacks a modern cancer treatment machine — a Linear Accelerator.

For the past two years, people across the country have been running to raise USD4.5m (Shs18b) needed to buy two linear accelerators and build their respective bunkers. Two machines are necessary so that when one is down or being serviced, people don’t have to die while waiting to receive treatment.

Over the past two years, we have raised Shs1.1 billion, but we need Shs17 billion to complete the job. It is a very big challenge but I am sure we’ll over come!  We should collectively register to run on Sunday August 26 this year throughout Uganda and urging our corporate bodies to contribute as well. Come along with Friends, relatives and well-wishers That way, we can have this latest cancer treatment machine installed in Uganda at Nsambya Hospital. The hospital has already offered the land where the bunkers will be built. With Linear Accelerators installed, cancer if detected early, will stop being a death sentence to the majority of Ugandans. This means that supporting the Rotary Cancer Run is the right thing to do.

 

By Rtn  Denis Jjuuko

President Rotary club of Kampala Naalya

PR Chair  Rotary Cancer run 2018