The Government through Ministry of Health has secured funding and selected Siemens Healthineers to provide a turn-key radiotherapy solution in Zambia.

Speaking during the official signing between the Ministry of Health and Siemens Healthineers, Minister of Health Silver Masebo said outdated equipment will be removed and disposed off according to international standards at a cost of USD 7,965,739.79.

She said the existing building will be repaired, and a new radiotherapy bunker will be constructed to house the new equipment.

Hon. Masebo added that the hospital will be equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy services amounting to USD 15,409,448.00.

She said this includes four linear accelerators, two brachytherapy units, two CT scan simulators, one MRI, and one mammography unit with a 5-year service plan costing USD 7,439,039.52 will commence after the third year.

And the Minister disclosed that the total project cost is USD 30,814,227.31, with the first linear accelerator expected in 6 months and the total project duration being 18 months.

Hon. Masebo explained that post-project, CDH aims to become a regional leader in cancer detection and treatment.

She said the Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH) is the only facility providing radiation services, but its machines are outdated and lack global market replacement parts, installed in 2006, 2010, and 2014.

Hon. Masebo noted that over 30,000 patients have benefited from services at CDH, with cervical cancer screening available in 114 districts and 345 clinics equipped for immediate pre-cancer treatment.

She however indicated that only 4 clinics offer early breast cancer diagnostics with over 60% of cancer patients need radiotherapy and yet only a fraction of the 3,000 cases seen at CDH receive it due to equipment failures.

The Minister of Health said the Government has been sending patients who meet specific criteria to India for treatment due to the lack of functional radiotherapy machines.

Meanwhile, Hon. Masebo revealed that to improve healthcare delivery, training in oncology is being expanded, with the goal of filling the current staffing shortfall at CDH.

She further stated that efforts are underway to secure funding for unfunded positions and to establish two new cancer hospitals in Ndola and Livingstone to enhance service delivery.

Hon. Masebo affirmed that the upgrade will grant more cancer patients in Zambia access to high-quality healthcare services as well as increase early diagnosis and treatment will likely increase survival rates among patients.

She said the government expresses pride in fulfilling the President’s commitment to ensuring no one is left behind in receiving quality healthcare, highlighting the significant impact expected from this initiative.

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, with over 9,000 deaths in Zambia each year. The most common cancers are cervical (3,640 new cases), Kaposi Sarcoma (2,427), prostate (1,642), breast (1,111), and esophageal (534). Despite being curable, childhood cancers have a high mortality rate in Zambia. The Ministry of Health aims to decentralize cancer services to improve access and care quality, focusing on breast, prostate, gut, cervical, and childhood cancers.” The Minister said

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