The shortage of drugs at the Uganda Cancer Institute continues to bite.
KFM visited the facility this morning and many patients were found sitting outside waiting for treatment in vain.
According to the director of the institute Dr. Jackson Orem, all patients are now required to buy drugs from private drug shops outside the facility.
Dr. Orem notes that cancer is a complicated disease which requires a combination of drugs for treatment.
He says the National Medical Stores has acknowledged that it has been grappling with procurement challenges since October last year.
KFM also spoke to one of the patients; an 80 year old woman who has been at the institute for two months waiting for drugs in vain.
Safina Nakanwagi, a resident of Kakira in Jinja town says she has now run out food and is living on handouts from well wishers.
Meanwhile, a day after the institute confirmed that 5 people die of cancer every day due to lack of drugs, the Ministry of Health has acknowledged the problem saying efforts are being made to address the problem.
Martin Oteba, a Commissioner at the ministry says the problem stems from the increasing number of cancer patients.
Oteba says the number of cancer patients has almost trippled in the past two years, affecting the institute’s annual budget for drugs.
He has promised to ensure that the budget for cancer drugs is revised to cater for the growing of patients.
Last year, the Uganda cancer institute was allocated Sh.7bn covering drugs for over Sh.30,000 patients.
According to statistics from the institute, 10,000 patients were recorded in 2012, in 2013 the number grew to 15,000 and todate the figure stands at 34,000.