Chakwera pledges cancer treatment for all by 2030 right here in Malawi through National Cancer Control Plan

* As he inaugurates state-of-the-art International Blantyre Cancer Centre owned by entrepreneur Thom Mpinganjira

* It does not only signify a huge achievement but also a beacon of hope for countless individuals grappling with cancer—Chakwera

Malawi News Agency

In inaugurating the state-of-the-art Blantyre International Cancer Centre on Tuesday, President Lazarus Chakwera pledged that by 2030, every cancer patient should receive treatment right here in Malawi through the National Cancer Control Plan, which the government is implementing.


Situated at Nyambadwe in Blantyre, along the Magalasi Road, the facility — owned by Malawi’s successful entrepreneur, Thomson Mpinganjira, marks a significant step in accessing excellent health care services and will soon be joined by Malawi National Cancer Centre — whose construction at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe is in its final phases.

President Chakwera has since urged stakeholders to join forces in addressing pressing issues of cancer within the country, saying the cancer treatment facility does not only signify a huge achievement but also a beacon of hope for countless individuals grappling with the disease.

“My government has plans to construct more cancer hospitals in the country to ensure that all cancer patients have access to treatment within our borders,” he said as he refers to the implementation of the National Cancer Control Plan, which facilitating the construction of Cancer Centre in Lilongwe.

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He announced that the Lilongwe facility “is at an advanced stage, with all materials already purchased and by September of this year, the centre will be operational”.

Chakwera, therefore, commended collaborative efforts of government agencies, international partners and other organizations for ensuring that the vision for Malawi to have cancer centres are being fulfilled.

He acknowledged the longstanding challenges Malawi has faced in combating cancer from limited resources to outdated treatment facilities and the President also stressed that the establishment of the modern cancer treatment centre signifies a commitment Malawi has in addressing health-related challenges.

Thom Mpinganjira

In his remarks, Mpinganjira — who is the centre’s Board of Trustees chairperson — emphasised that the cancer medical centre stands as a pivotal turning point for healthcare in Malawi and it will remove exorbitant costs associated with seeking treatment abroad.

Mpinganjira said the first phase of the facility has already absorbed K9.6 billion and shall soon start second phase of the project: “Building a cancer hospital is a way for me to help people not to go through what I experienced when my late wife was diagnosed with cancer.

Key partner for the centre is Thomson and Barbara Mpinganjira Foundation, a charity in memory of Mpinganjira late wife, Barbara and having experienced the trauma she suffered, he decided to offer Malawians a chance of better cancer treatment.

“Cancer is a very difficult disease and it is recommended that you should access the treatment at home with family.

“I would like to assure patients and their families that they are not alone in their battle against cancer. I am here to ensure that cancer care is not only possible but also readily available to all in need,” Mpinganjira said.


Representing the Minister of Health, Richard Chimwendo Banda, who also oversees the Ministry of Local Government, Unity & Culture said the opening of the facility will provide comprehensive cancer care to Malawians.

“This facility has come at a time when Malawians are starving with cancer with an estimated 17, 000 cases occurring each year and cancer contributes more deaths in Malawi,” he said.

When Southern Region Press Club toured the facility in December last year, its representative Alfred Mtetemera said the first phase will not provide admissions, but will daily treat about 10 patients with chemotherapy while 30 to 40 patients will undergo radiotherapy.

He added that the second phase hybrid project — done in collaboration with the Malawi Government — will comprise a diagnostic laboratory, admission rooms and incinerator

Meanwhile, when Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, toured the Malawi National Cancer Centre in February as part of commemorating World Cancer Day, she expressed satisfaction with the progress of the project, saying when completed, it will not only save lives of cancer clients, but also help the country save billions of Kwacha spent through referrals of clients to foreign countries for treatment.

Health Minister on her site visit

“This facility is very crucial — Government spends US$15,000 for every cancer client to access treatment outside the country and that excludes air tickets and accommodation for the client and guardian.”

Currently, there are 200 clients on the waiting list to access treatment abroad, thus the Minister said completion of the cancer facility will be a relief to the clients and the country as a whole.

It is being constructed with funding from the OPEC Fund for International Development and will have six bunkers for cancer treatment, including radiation therapy.

Plem Construction is the contractor undertaking the project and the company’s leading engineer on the site, Ajai Mahon assured that, so far, everything regarding the construction works was in order and that they were waiting for more equipment from Turkey.

Malawi registers over 18,000 new cases of cancer annually and, presently, the country provides oncology, including chemotherapy and palliative care services for cancer clients.—Reporting for MANA by Glory Msowoya & Kondwani Magombo