Children with Burkitt Lymphoma are Dying in Uganda

Unfortunately, there are presently severe shortages of chemotherapy drugs in Uganda. In fact, at St Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Northern Uganda, which is participating in INCTR’s BL study, neither cyclophosphamide nor vincristine, which are key drugs in the treatment of Burkitt lymphoma, are available. Read more

The situation is so dire at St Mary’s Hospital that children and their families are being asked to travel to Kampala, Uganda to get much needed treatment there. Unfortunately, families cannot afford the transportation costs, let alone the costs associated with staying in Kampala and are choosing to wait at St Mary’s Hospital in the hope that the drugs will arrive soon. Consequently, new patients or patients who should be still under therapy for potentially curable cancer are receiving only palliative care. Burkitt lymphoma has a short doubling time (i.e., it grows very rapidly) such that even if families could afford the long journey from Gulu to Kampala, it is likely that some patients may die en route. This problem has arisen because of the drug distribution system in Uganda, which has led to chemotherapy drugs not being stocked by many local suppliers of medicines, and markedly increased the time from ordering to receipt of drugs (all of which have to be imported), with no guarantee that drugs will arrive when expected. Guaranteed purchasing from a single company and advance payment could alleviate this situation, although more funds will be required to initiate a system of this kind. Please consider making a donation so that children don’t die needlessly. You may donate via this web site: Thank you very much for your support.

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