New Cancer Hospital in Zambia Brings Hope to Patients

Published Date: 21 August 2007

© IAEA Workers put final touches to the main entrance of the Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH) in Lusaka, ahead of the hospital's inauguration on 19th July 2007.  The US $8 million facility is Zambia's only cancer treatment and radiotherapy centre. President of the Republic of Zambia, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, is welcomed on arrival at the hospital by cancer patient Chiti Kampamba, 13, amid intense media interest.  In an opening ceremony address, Mwanawasa called the CDH  "the culmination of a vision." Cancer patient Chiti Kampamba, 13, with CDH senior medical physicist Mulape Kanduza (left) and radiation therapist Mercy Chipampe (right). Specialized training for both women was funded by the IAEA's Department of Technical Cooperation. Women's groups join in the opening festivities with colourful displays of traditional Zambian dancing and singing. With its modern, well-equipped treatment rooms and laboratories, the CDH is expected to become a centre of excellence for cancer care in Zambia and beyond. Cervical cancer accounts for roughly 25% of all new cancer cases in Zambia.  Brachytherapy is widely used in the treatment of this form of the disease. In the past, cancer patients in Zambia went onto year-long waiting lists for treatment abroad. Now they sit in the bright, airy rooms of the CDH, knowing that treatment is at hand. Patient Helen Moto-Moto waited in vain for two years to be sent abroad for treatment for her stage II cervical cancer.  She is now undergoing an intensive course of radiotherapy at CDH. The CDH already handles 30 patients a day but its waiting rooms and public areas are still relatively empty.  That will quickly change once the centre becomes fully operational and starts receiving patients from across the region.