ADDIS ABABA, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Ethiopian government on Monday unveiled plan to build a regional cancer excellence center at a cost of about 450 million U.S. dollars, aiming to solve the growing cancer-induced healthcare burden in the region.
The East African Cancer Center, which is expected to be finalized within the coming two years period, is expected to address cancer-related healthcare needs of the eight IGAD member countries that are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda, it was noted.
The plan to establish the regional cancer treatment center was unveiled on Monday, as IGAD and the Ethiopian government held a resource mobilization event to support the establishment of a newly unveiled regional cancer treatment center.
According to IGAD, the plan to establish a regional cancer center came as cancer patients from its member countries presently "do not have access to some or all of the essential services due to shortage of trained personnel, treatment facilities and reliable communication network and referral systems."
Executive Secretary of IGAD, Mahboub Maalim, adressing the resource mobilization event also urged IGAD member countries as well as its partners to join hand towards the realization of the planned regional cancer center.
"We need strong commitment to the IGAD Regional Cancer Centre of Excellence to give hope to citizens suffering from cancer in the region," Maalim said.
The Ethiopian Minister of Health, Amir Aman, also stressed the crucial significance of the newly unveiled Cancer treatment center initiative towards modernizing cancer treatment initiatives in the region.
"Ethiopia has a strong political commitment to make the center a reality by allocating resource and land," Aman said, as he affirmed the Ethiopian government's readiness to play its utmost efforts in successfully funding the project.
Aman, who emphasized the regional cancer center's expected role in bridging the existing gap in the number of trained personnel amid an increasing number of cancer patients in the region, noted that the number of African health practitioners specialized in cancer treatment are less than 2,000, in which the majority of them are said to be available in few African countries.
In addition to the provision of modern cancer treatment services, the regional center is also expected to ease the shortage of trained personnel in cancer treatment through the provision of training on cancer-related subjects such as oncology, haematology, and radiation oncology, it was noted.
IGAD, noting the existing lack of adequate cancer treatment facilities across the region, also stressed the latest initiative to establish an East African Cancer Center, once finalized, will serve as a center of excellence for cancer treatment in the IGAD region.