Man Offers Free Transport to Cancer Patients

Written by on July 19, 2021

The centralization of comprehensive cancer treatment has proven to be a challenge to many patients especially those from upcountry because of the ongoing lockdown.

In Northern Uganda, St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor is the only facility diagnosing and offering minimal care to cancer patients forcing most patients to travel to the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) in Kampala for comprehensive care and treatment.

However, the current lockdown and ban on public transport, has made it difficult for most cancer patients to access care. It is against this background that Robinson Wece, a resident of Lira City has offered his private vehicle to transport cancer patients to UCI for treatment.

Robinson Wece started his operations in July after realizing that the travel ban has affected the lifestyle of many people especially the sick. With clearance from Lira District Health Officer and the UCI, Wece transport patients with referral letters from Lira Regional Referral Hospital and those discharged by UCI to return home.

Amos Obote, an Educationist at the UCI confirmed that Wece has been authorized to transport the patients. “UCI authorized him to transport cancer patients along the Northern Route. Although from Kampala, he transports only those who do not have ways of returning. The social workers help in the identification of the patients,” he said.

The vehicle, which operates twice a week transport four patients per trip. Sustainable Effort for Rural Vulnerable Group Empowerment (SERVE) Uganda, a Community Based Organization is currently fueling the car and paying the driver.

Wece says his sister’s death after a long struggle with Cancer motivated him to care for cancer patients.

He says that UCI has assigned social workers who coordinate the patients and ensure that they receive the care they deserve before returning home.

“When we are taking them, the patients from the other side are already cleared. They tell us that we have cleared four people here so you will come and go back with these four. But the cancer institute have requested that we should not only target Lango sub-region but rather focus on the Northern route because there are people who stop in Luwero and Bombo among other areas,” he said.

After missing treatment for over a year, Milly Awor is among the four cancer patients who will get a chance to travel and resume treatment this week. Awor who had a mastectomy from St Mary’s Hospital Lacor in 2015 was referred to Mulago for chemotherapy and other treatment because cancer had spread to other parts of her body.

However, she stopped the treatment in March 2020 when the government announced a ban on public transportation to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Speaking to URN at her home in Aboke Sub County in Kole District, Awor said that she had to stop going for treatment because she could not afford the transport cost during the lockdown despite advice from her doctors to report to the hospital after every three months.

She says the pain has been unbearable during this period.

Awor is now happy that she has an opportunity to meet her doctor whom she believes will have a remedy for the bodily pain she is experiencing.

On the other hand, Hilda Apio, a resident of Ogwete sub-county in Otuke District is very excited to return home, a month after she was discharged from UCI. In February this year, a doctor in Lira who suspected the swelling inside her foot to be cancer referred Apio to UCI.

UCI confirmed the doctor’s worry and removed cancerous tissue from Apio’s foot leading to her admission. Following regular checkups and tests, the 58-year-old widow was discharged on  June 12,  2021. However, due to the lockdown, she was only able to return home on 15 July when she was linked to the Good Samaritan.

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