Rwanda is looking for a potential investor to set up a cancer treatment facility, and help the country cut down the number of Rwandans traveling for the service abroad.
The facility, worth $12 million includes radiotherapy, will provide cancer diagnosis, a service currently limited.
“We have received a few proposals. We still need more because we want to go by the best equipment ever,” Dr Jean Paul Barinda, in charge of cancer at Rwanda Biomedical center told KTPress.
He said four companies from Israel, France, US and Switzerland expressed their interests through an international tender issued by Rwanda, but declined to mention any to avoid contempt of a fair procurement process.
The radiotherapy service will be hosted at the Kigali based Masaka Hospital in Kicukiro district, according to Barinda.
Currently, the sole cancer center in Butaro Hospital, Northern part of Rwanda, can only provide cancer detection and treatment, when cancer is at its early stage.
The $5.8 million modern hospital, built in partnership with the government of Rwanda, Partners in Health, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, was inaugurated on January 23, 2011 by PresidentPaul Kagame.
Dr. Egide Nkwanumusingo, in charge of cancer program at Butaro, says since its existence, the hospital has received about 3,000 cancer patients, with mostly cervical and breast cancer, who get treated free of charge.
Barinda told KTPress about 30% (900) of these patients were transferred to foreign countries for radiotherapy, mainly India where the cost is estimated between $8,000 and $12,000. Over the last two years alone, the estimated total bill is $10.8 million.
Meanwhile, Rwanda has rolled out a national-wide campaign encouraging the community to undergo early cancer tests. Every health center in Rwanda has capacity to detect cancer, according to health ministry. Any patient with tangible signs is referred to Butaro for proper diagnosis and free treatment.
The country has also vaccinated 90% of girls aged between 12 and 18 years against cervical cancer. “We have the greatest number of vaccinated children on earth,” says Minister Binagwaho.
To deal with the low health worker density of 0.84 per 1000 people, she said from the 500 students who have enrolled in different specialization, Rwanda will increase the number of cancer specialists within seven years.