Ministry explains delayed delivery of cancer machine

By Shamim Nateebwa

The ministry of health permanent secretary Dr. Dianna Atwine has blamed the delayed installation of a new Cobalt-60 radiotherapy machine on a payment dispute.

An event organised for the Health minister to unveil the long-awaited machine was this morning cancelled at the last minute without explanation.

Dr Jackson Orem the Executive Director of the Uganda Cancer Institute later said the transporter declined to release the radiotherapy machine because the Czech supplier had not paid him.

But in an interesting turn of events, Christine Namulindwa, the spokesperson of the Uganda Cancer Institute has told KFM this evening that the machine has finally been released and moved to the Institute following resolution of payment requirements with Uganda Revenue Authority.

Initial reports suggested that URA had held onto the machine over unpaid tax, but Ian Rumanyika, the tax body’s corporate affairs manager says they granted a tax waiver but UCI failed to pick it for unknown reasons.

UCI says unlike previously when cancer patients were treated at no cost, the Institute is this time considering to introduce a fee as part of the cost-sharing and eliminate under-the-table pay allegedly sought by its staff.

When its starts operations, the machine that works 24 hours for seven days a week , is expected to handle between 30 to 70 patients a day.