Ugandans die not because of Cancer but neglect

“Thinking about why cancer patients opt for treatment in India. Hi, my name is Tindi am a cancer survivor. First of all this is what I observed. Uganda has fewer than 10 or even less oncologists to serve a population of I think 40 million or more people. There is simply no capacity to handle cancer in Uganda. Do we even have an oncologist surgeon in Uganda? I doubt. For cancers where surgery is the first in line treatment, relying on general surgeons has its downsides. I have been to many Ugandan hospitals and the level of care alone is appalling, Ugandans die not because of Cancer but neglect and the inability to afford treatment. We also lack real economist among our leaders. if Ugandans are flocking to India for cancer care what stops government from giving tax holidays to companies to establish cancer care hospitals here in Uganda to discourage patients from going to India? India didn’t wake up one day and establish a famous cancer care, they purposely came up with policies and plans that have been building on including training doctors for the best in attitude, care and loving their jobs with a great pay too.”

Tindi posted her testimony on face book yesterday, 30th January 2016 and she honoured me as among the persons she tagged to her post. I think it is because I have known Tindi since she was a little girl and I know that she has been dealt with tough episodes in her life which she has overcome with bravery that one can only admire. She has not allowed those crappy episodes to take her down and she always bounces back beyond imagination. She is an active citizen whose contribution to the world is significant. I also think that Tindi tagged me to her testimony post because she knows me for my armchair activism through blogging. So I decided to blog her post on my “The Humanist View” blog.

To contextualise further the issue of the abysmal level of care that Uganda provides to its people who get afflicted by cancer, one will find a perspective of an oncologist of value. Here is such a perspective from Dr. Niyonzima:

 “At UCI (Uganda Cancer Institute), for example, a single doctor can see as many as 50 patients a day. In Seattle, where Niyonzima did a rotation at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, he saw five to six.” Dr. Niyonzima compares UCI and cancer care in Seattle: “Here (Seattle), there’s more time. You have 45 minutes with a patient, time to read their charts. In Uganda, you don’t have that luxury. You give each patient much less time, much less attention.”  Read more

One hopes that Tindi’s testimony and of Dr. Niyonzima will at least touch you on a human level. Better still that they will provoke you to do something, whatever you can to change the status quo in Uganda for the better – at the level of policy and policy implementation for the benefit of all and not a select few.

8 responses to “Ugandans die not because of Cancer but neglect”

  1. […] Last month, January 2016, my dear little sister-friend shared, on face book, her moving testimony, as a survivor of cancer, her ordeal negotiating through Uganda’s health care system which has insufficient human resources and infrastructure for quick diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Her testimony so impacted me that I shared it in a post on my blog, this blog, The Humanist View, titled: “Ugandans die not because of cancer but neglect.” Read more […]


  2. When you ask for funding for cancer, nobody is going to give [it to] you. But if you ask for funding for these other diseases, they say, ‘All right, your priority is correct, we are going to give you some funds.’ – Dr. Jackson Orem.

    Cancer in the Developing World: The Economics of a Disease. Cancer kills more people in poor countries than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined:


    So how does Uganda come to have the highest cancer rate after S. Africa?

    Could it be because of many carcinogenic herbicides and pesticides that are heavily dumped into the environment within which we live?

    Many of those herbicides and pesticides used in Uganda have been found to be carcinogenic or probable carcinogenic in humans, such as Round up (Glyphosate, 2-4 D, etc.) –

    Yet our poor peasant cultivators are encouraged to use them:

    And when used around homes, there are safety precautions taken. Pouring the chemicals in soils unprotected is the norm:

    While NRM caucus supports passage of the GMO Bill into law, giving reasons among which is reduction of pesticides use, the opposite is true according to Dr. Ramon J. Seidler, Ph.D., former Senior Scientist, Environmental Protection Agency –

    In short, what is needed is to listen to Dr. Jackson Orem and provide funding for cancer, after all he is the expertise and Cancer kills more people in poor countries than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

    But funding won’t do much if Uganda passes GMO Bill that increases the use of carcinogenic herbicides.

    The U.S. has learned the hard way, and as of last month, GMOs and Glyphosate have been banned in all wildlife refuges across the nation. –


  3. Thanks, Norah. I feel that my personal contribution – besides supporting one of my own children till they become oncologists – is to head to those Cancer Institutes and help change the environment there so that the attitude of the people that work there is more tuned to care. A group of us are holding discussions round this, having tried it before, and we hope our actions will make a difference soon.


  4. armchair activism through blogging, I am sorry to inform you that right now you are most likely drinking tap water that is loaded with lead (Pb) 140 times more than the maximum limit by WHO. –

    That is not neglect, it is more than that, especially for the young ones!

    1 out of 4 patients treated at a hospital had Kidney disease. Doctor’s advice – drink more water. –

    I could go on, but it is too depressing when I read such:


    • Am sorry but I do not see how your comments link to Cancer diagnosis and treatment. Please edit to make them more directly linked with the issue of Cancer diagnosis and treatment.

      Liked by 1 person

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