ADDIS ABABA – Ministry of Health on Saturday inaugurated a oncology centre in Jimma City as authorities continue their push to address the growing need for cancer treatment in Ethiopia.
The Ministry said the new facility at Jimma University College of Health Sciences built a cost of 350 million Birr would increase the national capacity to provide cancer diagnosis and treatment services to patients.
In the recent years, Health Minister Dr. Lia Tadese said the government is acquiring new equipment and constructing new oncology centres to ease the challenge.
The cancer treatment center at Jimma University is one of them, she said.
Dr. Lia said also said it a part a plan to establish oncology centers in 17 public hospitals with a capacity to provide chemotherapy and radiotherapy services.
Until recently, Tikur Anbessa specialized hospital was Ethiopia`s only center for cancer offering oncologic surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Patients had to wait for at least six months to get access to its services.
There are now dozens of diagnostic and treatment centres opened in the country, while creating links to the national referral hospital for complex cases.
Officials say their numbers, however, are still not sufficient as the disease become a major public health challenge in Ethiopia where nearly 52, 000 cancer deaths are registered annually.
In 2020 alone, the country recorded more than 77, 000 new cancer cases among which cervical and breast cancer constitute the significant majority, according to international agency on Cancer Research.
And only 15 percent of these cases get access to treatment, health officials say.