Sigh of relief as cancer treatment centre opens in Malawi – Capital Radio Malawi
21 April, 2024

Sigh of relief as cancer treatment centre opens in Malawi

Inside the IBCC

The opening of a state of the art, multi-million-dollar International Blantyre Cancer Centre (IBCC) in Malawi has brought a sigh of relief to cancer patients awaiting government funding to seek specialised treatment abroad.

The first ever cancer treatment centre, located in Blantyre, the southern part of Malawi has the capacity to handle 50 patients seeking radiotherapy and 10 patients for chemotherapy sessions.  

This new facility solves the problem of a patient queuing on a long government waiting list of funding for months, while the health status is deteriorating.

The government spends about $15,000 which is equivalent to about K25 million to send a cancer patient to either India, Zambia or Tanzania, for treatment.

With the majority of Malawians living below the poverty line, only a few afford to secure their own travels and pay bills for specialised medication abroad.

The IBCC is a 50/50 joint venture between business mogul Thomson Mpinjanjira under the ‘Thomson & Barbara Mpinganjira Foundation’ and the Luxembourg, Belgium based company called OMCC.

Mpinganjira (in suit) presenting a gift to Chakwera during the facility’s launch

“The facility will offer both Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy treatment and has the most advanced Radiotherapy facilities in Africa, at the forefront of technology. While there is still work in progress and that other equipment is in transit, the centre has so far cost €5,280,255,274 equivalent to K9.625 billion,” explained Mpinganjira during the official opening of the facility on Tuesday.

Mpinganjira, the Chairperson of IBCC Board of Trustees who disclosed that the first phase of this project ends in May this year, shared an emotional story behind the construction of this facility.

“The journey to this cancer centre started on 24 January 2017 when my late wife Barbara was diagnosed with a tumor in the liver and she was referred to South Africa for Biopsy and further care. That was to mark 3 months stay at a South African hospital while I stayed in a hotel until we returned to Malawi on 16 April 2017, with a final diagnosis of gall bladder cancer,” he narrated.

He further explained that his wife died on 4 January 2019 and this prompted him to make the decision to build a cancer hospital in Malawi so that cancer patients should never go through the same experience.

Meanwhile, he has announced that the facility will be offering free cervical cancer treatment to over 600 underprivileged women every year following the partnership with OMCC which has 5 Cancer Centers in France and four in Africa and has so far treated over 60,000 patients seeking radiotherapy treatment.

Mpinganjira making a speech during the launch

President Lazarus Chakwera who presided over the official opening of the cancer facility applauded the business mogul for supporting the government’s efforts in providing quality health care especially on specialised treatment.

“We have to applaud this private sector initiative for the efforts to save lives through provision of specialised treatment within the country. I therefore order the Ministry of Health to work closely with IBCC to ensure sustainable and quality health care delivery. This is the Malawi we want,” Chakwera said.

“Let me take this opportunity to inform Malawians that the National Cancer Centre in Lilongwe will be operational by November this year,” he added, referring to a government cancer facility whose construction works stalled years ago due to logistical hiccups.

Latest statistics from the Ministry of Health reveal that Malawi records 17,000 cancer cases every year with 12,000 people dying within the same period.

Currently, 700 cancer patients in Blantyre are on the government waiting list for funding to seek specialised treatment abroad, according to the Director of Health Services for Blantyre District, Gift Kawalazira.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *