NCI U54 to fight against HIV and Cancer

Lilongwe: Ministry of Health and Population has said the country is registering over 8,000 cases of cancer annually.

Director of Clinical Services in the Ministry, Dr Chithope Mwale disclosed this Wednesday in Lilongwe at Sunbird Capital Hotel during the opening of a three day HIV and cancer conference organised by National Cancer Institute U54.

He said at least 8,151 new cases of cancer are registered annually and with the study conducted by the Malawi National Cancer Registry in 2007 to 2010,

It was estimated that over 60 per cent of the cancers found in males and 70 per cent in females with HIV associated malignancy, Mwale said.

He added that there is need to develop capacity and conduct high impact research focused on HIV associated cancers so that early detection should be achieved.

The Director said the collaborative work on HIV associated malignancies occurring across the entire international network of U54 consortia is providing important data relevant not only to the country but other countries for improving quality clinical care as well as scientific collaboration opportunities for young upcoming investigators.

Cancer Programme Director for NCI Project in Malawi, Satish Gopal said there was progress in fighting cancer in the country.

When I was coming to Malawi in 2012 there was no diagnosis of cancer but now there are two oncologists in central hospitals of Lilongwe and Blantyre and we are looking forward to have some in Zomba as well as Mzuzu, he pointed out.

Head of Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health, Kaponda Masiye said the conference would help in capacity building to Malawian cancer researchers to better understand HIV associate malignancies.

He commended the government is playing a crucial role in the fight against cancer.

The government has helped a lot in fighting cancer as well as HlV in the sense that they are able to send people to study abroad so that they can be professionals in oncology and the building of Malawi Council for Cancer Centre which will be opened next year, Masiye explained.

The National Cancer Institute U54 Conference has researchers and investigators from a number of low and middle income countries covering a broad spectrum of disciplines, ranging from biomedical but the social and behavioural sciences, and networks for patient support to come together.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA