TZ set to launch nationwide cancer vaccination programme

Tanzania is considering rolling a national cervical cancer vaccination programme next year after a successful completion of a pilot project in Kilimajaro region, government officials said Monday.

Health and Social Welfare Minister Dr Seif Rashid told Afrika Reporter the undertaking will be implemented with the support from Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization—GAVI.

The plan will target school girls aged 9 to 13 hoping to prevent them from the deadly disease.

Government figures show that between 80 and 100 people succumb to cancer daily, the number is equivalent to at least 40,000 Tanzanians dying of the disease annually.

Minister Rashid, said the challenge is how to effectively implement the scheme basing on the lessons and knowledge gained from the pilot project.

Meanwhile, the minister also said the government was in talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to support the procurement of two leaner accelerators for managing advanced and complex diseases at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) in Dar es Salaam.

The cost each machine ranges from $2.8-to- $3.72 million (about Sh6 –Sh 8 billion), the government intends to contribute 50% of the total procurement amount.

ORCI Radiotherapy Manager, Dr Hemed Myanza, welcomed the development saying construction of new additional units to help house the state of the art equipment is in progress.

Myanza urges the general public to undergo regular cancer screenings to improve treatment chances in case of detection.