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Annual Report 2018

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Over the past year we have continued to support the work of our Ugandan partner, the Makerere Palliative Care Unit (MPCU) in Kampala, who have been extending the volunteer programme to develop additional volunteer cohort, specifically based around the Naguru hospital site. We have provided funding to allow a comprehensive training programme and to help with volunteer expenses, and also to support a new initiative aimed at training general nurses about palliative care who can act as a link between the hospital wards and departments and the MPCU. Extending the awareness and capability for palliative care is an important part of building capacity and capability within the healthcare system. There is good news from Kampala in that a new radiotherapy machine is now operational, and a further machine is planned for later this year; a significant help and hope for all patients.

The Palliative Care Association of Uganda held a conference in August 2017 in conjunction with the Uganda Cancer Institute which was celebrating its 50th anniversary, and I was pleased to be able to visit this as it gave the opportunity to make many contacts and get a better overview of the service provision for patients and their carers. In particular I met the Executive Director of the Uganda Cancer Society, discussing the potential for a cancer support centre which is also one of his key aims. This contact has continued over the year and we see a good opportunity to moving forward with developing this initiative.

Liz Nabirye, the information nurse from MPCU, visited the UK in the autumn, and was able to meet members of the BOAT charity who have supported her over several years. As a result we were delighted to receive a further grant towards the MPCU projects. Many thanks to BOAT and all our other donors for your support.

As always many different people and organisations have generously supported us and nothing at all would happen without this. I hope this report will give you an insight into the work that we are trying to do and the use we are making of your generous help, so another big thank you to everyone; please do keep on supporting us.

Christine Whitehouse

Download our full Uganda Cancer Trust UK Annual Report 2018.

Update on radiotherapy provision in Uganda

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

A new radiotherapy machine was commissioned in January 2018 and in March delivery of a second Cobalt 60 machine, to be installed at the Uganda Cancer Institute, was also announced, with a further five machines planned within a few years. This will really dramatically improve the provision of treatment and the chances for a successful outcome for many many patients.

Sadly not everyone can manage to get treatment and Toko Friday, volunteer at Makerere Palliative Care Unit has written very movingly about one such patient that the volunteers provided support to recently.

Read our Annual Report for 2016

Saturday, January 14th, 2017
We continue to support the work done by our Ugandan partner, the Makerere Palliative Care Unit (MPCU) in Kampala. The projects are integral to MPCU, and the teams and individuals continue to develop their skills and understanding of cancer and its implications for patients and their families.

Particular challenges have arisen during this year, with the redevelopment of the Mulago site involving temporary relocation of all services to other hospitals in the Kampala area, and the irrevocable breakdown of the radiotherapy machine which has significant impact on patient treatments. The team is adjusting to the new realities, and we are very keen to help and support them in any way that we can to provide a continuing service to cancer patients and their carers.

The local situation has meant that we have not yet been able to progress our wider objectives and our strategic plan as envisaged. However, we have continued to maintain contact with MPCU and also widen our network of contacts with other likeminded UK organisations working in Uganda, for instance through Uganda Networks, a network set up by the Ugandan Christian Churches, specifically for this purpose. Although this may not drive out any positive projects as such, we have had significant support from Afrinspire in validating and refining a recent proposal from MPCU and would like to acknowledge their invaluable help.

Fundraising has continued through the year, with some key events undertaken by individuals, and importantly the continuing link with BOAT, an Oxford charity supporting our projects. We are very grateful for the support from all our donors and hope they will continue to support us in the future. Next year we will focus on the implementation of the strategic plan, with fundraising as a key objective, and also to raise wider awareness and involve more donors on a regular basis with the charity. As always many different people and organisations have generously supported us and nothing at all would happen without this.

I hope this report will give you an insight into the work that we are trying to do and the use we are making of your generous help, so another big thank you to everyone; please do keep on supporting us.

You can download the Annual Report 2016 in full.

Christine Whitehouse
Uganda Cancer Trust UK

Support Katy and Alex running the Uganda Marathon

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

The second Uganda International Marathon takes place on 5th June. Last year, local student Edward Mukasa raised £645 for Uganda Cancer Trust UK running the 10k race. This year we have 2 enthusiastic runners, Katy Budge and Alex Bennett, signed up for the full Uganda Marathon in June and getting very excited about the prospect. They are aiming to raise at least £1500 each for Uganda Cancer Trust UK. Read all about it and show your support on their JustGiving page

Our new strategic plan 2015 – 2018

Friday, January 8th, 2016

We have just published a new Strategic Plan which sets out our plans and priorities for the next three years. Developed with our expanded Board of Trustees, and the generous help of Elisabeth Davies, we feel this marks a key stage in our development.

Like many things in life we didn’t think about the problem of cancer in Uganda until it affected someone we cared about. In the case of Uganda Cancer Trust UK, we started the charity because of the experience of our friend Lydia, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. Initially we sought to raise money for her treatment, but it soon became apparent that Lydia’s experiences were not unique and that the treatment and care of people with cancer in Uganda was very different to UK, where cancer treatment is free and there are many organisations set up to support those with cancer. Lydia was lucky she was able to get support and funding for her treatment. Many in Uganda are not so lucky.

While we recognised that cancer is a huge issue in Uganda, as a small charity we wanted to focus our efforts and money where we can make the biggest difference. We are very aware that good intentions do not always lead to effective and sustainable aid. Which is why the first thing we did was to get an expert (Professor Annie Young) to go to Uganda and look at cancer care in Uganda and help us work out the most effective way we could make a difference. You can read Annie’s report here.

It soon became clear that while funding for treatment in Uganda was slowly improving there was a clear gap in the information provided to patients and that many people felt disempowered and unclear on what was happening to them, the treatment they needed and where they could go for support. This very much echoed Lydia’s experience of being diagnosed and treated in Uganda. Therefore, we decided to focus our efforts on helping support the patient through their treatment.

However, being based in the UK, we were aware that for any support to work it needed to be locally owned and delivered in order to make it relevant and sustainable. To help ensure this we sent a volunteer to Uganda for six months to help us find a suitable local partner to work with. That is how we were able to enter a partnership with the Makerere Palliative Care Association, through which we are funding an information nurse and volunteers who work to support patients.

Through being targeted in what we are trying to do, researching thoroughly the best way to spend our money and ensuring that we partner with an accountable and effective local organisation we have made a big difference with a relatively small amount of money. We are so proud of what we’ve achieved to date. However, there is much more we could and would like to be doing.

We know what we can do well but we want to do more, building on what we’ve done to date. In order to do this we need to have clear goals for the future that we can measure ourselves against and clear plan for how we achieve them. This is what this plan starts to set out.

When we look to the future we feel ambitious. We have to because there is so much more that we need to achieve. But we are also very clear about what we don’t want to lose – we need to combine the best of being small, volunteer­-led and value­-driven with an ability to bring in more resources and deliver larger scale change. We’ve achieved to so much in such a small space of time and with limited resources; time is right to build on this and creating a lasting legacy.

Read our plans in full in the Strategic Plan.