Chakwera hails Mpinganjira for the construction of a cancer centre in Malawi

By Chisomo Phiri

President Dr.Lazarus Chakwera has hailed business mogul Thomson Mpinganjira for  putting much of his energy and resources towards the construction of the International Blantyre Cancer Centre (IBCC) in the country.

Speaking on Wednesday when he officially opened the state of the art facility,Chakwera said:” You have turned your personal tragedy to a public triumph.

Mpinganjira and Chakwera

“It is along this national pathway that the newly inaugurated IBCC comes as a timely private sector intervention in complementing government’s capacity in providing comprehensive cancer treatment services.

“The state-of-the-art facility is a significant milestone in Malawi’s healthcare sector for it among primary benefits reduces foreign oncology referrals and relieves affected families of logistical inconveniences that come with medical care away from the home country,” said Chakwera.

He stressed that the fight against cancer can never be won if all responsibility is left in the hands of the government.

The President added that the opening of the facility does not only signify a huge achievement but also a beacon of hope for countless individuals grappling with the disease.

“My government has plans to construct more cancer hospitals in the country to ensure that all cancer patients have access to treatment within our borders.

“Currently, we are implementing the National Cancer Control Plan, intending to ensure that by 2030, every cancer patient receives treatment here in Malawi.

“Reaching this far, the construction of Cancer Centre in Lilongwe is at an advanced stage, with all materials already purchased and by September of this year, the centre will be operational,” he said.

Chakwera, therefore, commended collaborative efforts of government agencies, international partners and other organizations for ensuring that the vision for Malawi to have cancer centres are being fulfilled.

He acknowledged the longstanding challenges Malawi has faced in combating cancer from limited resources to outdated treatment facilities.

The president stressed that the establishment of the modern cancer treatment centre signifies a commitment Malawi has in addressing health-related challenges.

In his remarks, Dr. Thomson Mpinganjira, Chairperson for the Board of Trustees, International Blantyre Cancer Centre emphasised that the centre stands as a pivotal turning point for healthcare in Malawi and it will remove exorbitant costs associated with seeking treatment abroad.

Mpinganjira said the first phase of the facility has already absorbed K9.6 billion and shall soon start second phase of the project.

“Building a cancer hospital is a way for me to help people not to go through what I experienced when my late wife was diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is a very difficult disease and it is recommended that you should access the treatment at home with family.

“I would like to assure patients and their families that they are not alone in their battle against cancer. I am here to ensure that cancer care is not only possible but also readily available to all in need,” Mpinganjira said.

Representing the Minister of Health, Richard Chimwendo Banda, who also oversees the Ministry of Local Government, Unity and Culture said the opening of the facility will provide comprehensive cancer care to Malawians.

“This facility has come at a time when Malawians are starving with cancer with an estimated 17, 000 cases occurring each year and cancer contributes more deaths in Malawi,” he said.