Power and Politics

Govt unveils plan to rehabilitate, re-equip Cancer Disease Hospital with over $30 million


Government is in the process of rehabilitating and re-equipping the Cancer Diseases Hospital with modernised infrastructure at a cost of about US$30.814 million

Minister of Health, Sylvia Masebo, said this included the state of the art equipment that would match current cancer treatment techniques.

Masebo said this in Lusaka on Thursday in a Ministerial Statement to Parliament to give an update on the Cancer situation in the country.

She stated that the hospital would also see its old radiotherapy equipment being replaced with new diagnostic equipment that would enhance positive outcomes for patient care.

“Additionally, a fully equipped new bunker with an extra Linear Accelerator will be built at the hospital. The government has already allocated funding and chosen a contractor for the project,” Masebo added.

The minister disclosed that the works to renovate and re-equip the Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH) in Lusaka was anticipated to start in April, 2024.

She identified the contractor as Siemens Healthineers which was a global leader in healthcare innovation, offering products and services for cancer diagnosis, treatment and care with their headquarters in Germany.

“The works will involve decommissioning, rehabilitation and construction at a cost of US$7,965,739.79,” Masebo said.

She added that the decommissioning which was removing outdated equipment including radiation sources which would be handled, stored, exported and disposed of in accordance with internationally accepted standards as recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Minister said it would also include the restoration of the structures housing the radiation and diagnostic imaging machinery and construction of one new radiotherapy bunker which was also known as a treatment vault.

“The treatement vault is a specialized room designed to house radiotherapy equipment and the purpose of which is to shield patients, staff and the public from ionizing radiation emitted during treatment,” Masebo stated.

She said re-equipping of the Cancer Diseases Hospital would cost a total cost of US$15,409,448.00 and that this would include commissioning of four Linear Accelerators, two brachytherapy units, two CT scan simulators, One MRI and 1 mammography unit.

Masebo stated that the service, maintenance and upgrade would cost US$7,439,039.52 for 5 years and that this would be paid after year three in yearly amounts of US$1,487,808 for 5 years.

“The restoration of radiotherapy with the first linear accelerator is expected in September, 2024,” she said.

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She noted that after completing the project, CDH should establish itself as a regional centre of excellence for cancer detection and treatment

She also highlighted that Zambia records on average 15,296 new cancer cases per annum according to Zambia National Cancer Registry and the Global Cancer Observatory data.

“The highest burden of cancer comes from cervical cancer with approximately (3,640 new cases), Kaposi sarcoma (2,427), prostate cancer (1,642) breast cancer (1,111) and esophagus cancer (534 new cases),” Masebo revealed.

She added childhood cancers, despite being curable, are associated with very high mortality in Zambia.

CDH, she said, was a fourth level referral hospital for comprehensive cancer treatment which was opened in 2006 but officially commissioned in July 2007.

“Approximately only 3,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients are seen at the hospital annually which means only about a fifth of all cancer patients access comprehensive cancer treatment,” she said.

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