Participants and trainers at the Medical and Training Fellowship programme facilitated by the East African Development Bank

Twenty two Ugandan physicians Friday completed a five-day residential Oncology clinical training course at Nsambya Hospital that seeks to step up the fight against non-communicable diseases and in particular, cancer.

Managed by the British Council in partnership with the London Royal College of Physicians, the training took the physicians through the essentials for early diagnosis of cancer aspects of prevention, principles of treatment and the key aspects of holistic management.

The Medical and Training Fellowship programme is part of East African Development Bank’s long-term plan to equip doctors in district hospitals across Uganda and East Africa with the skills to effectively and promptly diagnose cancer and neurological disorders and facilitate early interventions either at the point of contact or by referral for advanced medical care.

The training was conducted by a mixed faculty from the United Kingdom and East Africa comprised of the Course Convener is Professor Elly Katabira, Local Faculty Dr. Abdu Musubire, Dr Steven Matovu in addition to Dr Jonathan Partridge and Dr. Ogunrin Olubunmi from London Royal College of Physicians.

So far, over 70 physicians have participated in the Oncology and Neurology Training and Fellowship programme across East Africa this year with another 150 scheduled to undergo the training before the end of the year.

EADB plans to train 600 physicians in four years leading to a rich exchange of skills, expertise and experience between the people of the UK and East Africa.

According to the EADB director general Vivienne Yeda, the training will boost the medical fraternity’s capacity in Uganda and the region by availing qualified professionals who will tackle various cancers.

“We hope that the programme will lead to better health for the people of East Africa and ease the growing burden that noncommunicable diseases put on the economies of East Africa,” she added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 8.2million people die annually from cancer, an estimated 13% of all deaths worldwide. Despite an estimated 456,000 deaths caused by cancer in sub-Saharan Africa in 2012 and a cancer burden that is predicted to double by 2030, the region accounts for only 0.3% of worldwide medical expenditure for cancer.