Malawi government is banking its hopes of developing cheaper methods of providing treatment to cervical cancer patients on the yet to be completed National Cancer Treatment Centre.
A cervical cancer specialist in Lilongwe had earlier told Capital FM that the method used for treating cervical cancer at the moment is expensive to maintain.
Public hospitals in Malawi use cryotherapy method of cervical cancer treatment, which is commonly done through the purchase of carbon dioxide gas to use in cylinders.
The gas, according UNC Project Clinical Research Site Leader, Lameck Chinula, is expensive even when several women are treated using one gas cylinder.
“With this method, you basically use cold temperature changes on the cervix to destroy abnormal cells in the cervix,” explained Chinula.
He added that other countries are however using other methods like thermo-coagulation which has attracted attention of other countries like Malawi but are yet to practice.
The National Cancer Treatment Centre, a $15 million project is expected to be completed in September this year.
The ministry of health has so far indicated that 50 percent of work on the center is already through as radiation therapy technologists, laboratory technologists, pharmacists, medical technicians, medical oncologists, nurses and medical physicists have been trained and some are still being trained.
Commenting on the matter in relation to the challenge Malawi hospitals have in treating cervical cancer, Head of Non Communicable Diseases and Mental Health in the Ministry of Health and population, Kaponda Masiye, hinted that the Cervical Cancer Treatment Centre will provide a window for change on the challenge.
“Most of these methods that Malawi is using could be expensive but with the coming in of the National Cancer Treatment Centre, we will be able to explore avenues or other methods which will be good for Malawi.
Research conducted by the ministry revealed that only less than five percent of cancer patients in Malawi had access to radiotherapy treatment.
In Malawi however, 3,000 of 4,000 women diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, die from the disease.