April 19, 2021 (Addis Ababa). The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) marked yet another milestone on its ambition to establish a Regional Cancer Centre of Excellence (RCCE) after H.E. Workneh Gebeyehu led a ceremony that laid the foundation stone of the Centre together with H.E. The Deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa., The 200,000-square-metre land that was donated by the Government of Ethiopia will be the home of the state-of-the-art Centre.
The ground-breaking ceremony implements the 2012 decision of the IGAD Council of Ministers that called for the establishment of the Cancer Centre. The ceremony in Addis Ababa was attended by the Minister of Health of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ambassadors of IGAD Member States accredited to IGAD, members of the diplomatic community, and community leaders.
In his opening remarks, the IGAD Executive Secretary said that the Cancer Centre “manifests our commitment to cooperate and collaborate to take cancer care closer to the communities and will serve to drive IGAD’s regional integration agenda through the provision of healthcare at a regional level”. Dr Workneh applauded IGAD member states for the moral and material support for the initiative.
Speaking at the event, H.E. Ms. Lia Tadesse, the Minister for Health of Ethiopia said the establishment of this treatment, training and research centre marks a key milestone in the fight against cancer for the IGAD region and for the African continent as the centre will significantly contribute to building stronger, and more resilient health systems.
The guest of honour Her Lordship Adanach Abiebie, the Deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa City Administration informed the attendees that the project, which will be located on twenty hectares of land donated by the city government and valued at a cost of $500 million US dollars. Madam Adanach was upbeat on the initiative; “I would to say that we have made it a tradition not only to start, but also complete projects” she said in her speech.
Deputy Mayor said donation of 200,000-meter square strategic land for free, “demonstrates our firm commitment towards providing better health services.”
Dr. Workneh acknowledges and appreciates the critical support of IGAD partners and appealed to their continued support to help the project to come to fruition
The World Health Organisation estimates that cancer deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa will double in the next 20 years and that cancer rates will increase faster in Africa compared to any other region of the globe. The rate of cancer prevalence in the IGAD region is also very high and the disease is claiming more lives than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
Upon completion, the centre will provide accessible world-class quality cancer care services including diagnosis, treatment, and research. The primary objective of the Centre is aimed at dealing with the growing cancer-induced healthcare challenge being experienced in the region, and train skilful and competent professionals in prevention and treatment of cancer.
IGAD is an inter-governmental body consisting of eight member states that include Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
Dr Girum Hailu, Senior Advisor, Health and Social Development Division.