International Blantyre Cancer Centre to start operations next month

George Felix Acquah, a Medical Physicist explaining how Elekta Linac (Infinity) works

Authorities at the multi-billion kwacha International Blantyre Cancer Centre (IBCC), which is being funded by business guru Thomson Mpinganjira, have disclosed that the facility will be ready for cancer patients in January, 2024.

This was disclosed on Wednesday 6th December, 2023 when journalists under the banner Southern Region Press Club (SRPC), toured the facility to appreciate the construction progress and also  to familiarize themselves with the state of the art IBCC which is being constructed in Nyambadwe, along the Magalasi highway in Blantyre.

According to a representative of the IBCC Alfred Mtetemera, the first phase of the construction works for the facility, is almost done and he further said they are now in final touches of installing state of the art equipment and all other deserving materials.

Mtetemera said IBCC which has so far cost Dr Mpinganjira and other partners over nine million euros which is over ten billion kwacha, is set to treat at least 50 radiotherapy and around 10 chemotherapy patients in a day which translates to a total of over 10,000 patients in a year.

“The progress of the project is almost 95% done. If you look at the structural works, they are almost done. What we are remaining with is just the external works. But the structural works for the building, they are almost done. We are currently also doing installation of the machines, as you’ve seen inside. When the first phase of the installation t has finished, we are entering into a second phase, starting from the end of this week for the next three weeks.

“Then after that, by the first or second or third week of January, we should be up and running, ready to commence the services of the Cancer Center. On a daily basis for the chemotherapy, we are able to treat about 10 patients and for the radiotherapy, a maximum of 30 patients in a day and that you can calculate on a yearly basis how many we can treat. That’s the capacity that we have currently,” explained Mtetemera.

Mtetemera further said though it will be a paying facility, talks are at an advanced stage with the Malawi Government in trying to make it affordable to all Malawians.

“It will be a paying one but currently talks with the Malawi government are at an advanced stage with the government. As you know it is the only cancer center in Malawi and even within the region,  it is the state of the art. For the local Malawians we are also trying to make it affordable, at the same time with government coming in I think we will outline what the package would be, and I’m sure government is also excited to be part of the Cancer Center,” he added.

The representative, further said the idea to come up with the Cancer Center was made by Dr Mpinganjira who is also the founder of the Thomson & Barbara Mpinganjira Foundation and says it was made based on his experience when the late Barbara battled with cancer.

The International Blantyre Cancer Centre is coming at a time when the ministry of health recently disclosed that Malawi government uses over K2 billion every year to send patients either to India or Tanzania for cancer treatment.