Business tycoon and philanthropist Thomson Mpinganjira has said construction of a K2 billion radiotherapy cancer centre in Blantyre will be completed soon and is part of his contribution to Malawi’s health system development.
Speaking on Saturday during the 15th anniversary of FDH Bank plc, which he founded, he said the facility will be in honour of his late wife Barbara, who succumbed to cancer in 2019.
Mpinganjira cuts the anniversary cake assisted by his daughter Annabel (L) and wife Triephornia
Said Mpinganjira: “If all goes well, our first patients will be attended to in December this year.”
He said he decided to construct the hospital to ease the burden that cancer patients face when assessing treatment outside the country.
“Cancer is a very difficult disease and it is recommended that when accessing treatment, you should be home with family, so I thought as a way of helping people not to go through what I went through, I should build a cancer hospital,” said Mpinganjira.
He said he has partnered with a Belgian firm that will provide the equipment for the hospital.
The Blantyre International Cancer Centre, under construction in Nyambadwe, Blantyre is expected to supplement the radiotherapy cancer centre that the government is constructing in Lilongwe.
Currently, the country’s health system only offers chemotherapy and patients requiring radiotherapy are referred to other countries such as South Africa, Tanzania and India, among others.
“I have spent a few billions. I think when the centre is complete, we will be able to give the exact figure, But, definitely it is over K2 billion, maybe K3 billion or K4 billion” he said.
Recently, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said the country spends a lot money to send cancer patients, especially cervical cancer patients, to other countries to get treatment because such services are unavailable in Malawi.
“We lose K2 billion quarterly that used to send cancer patients abroad for them to get through radiotherapy. So, it’s much higher per year as you can see,” said Chiponda.
Ministry of Health data shows that Malawi has the World’s highest cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates and nearly 3 000 women die from this disease yearly.
Meanwhile, FDH board chairperson Charity Mseka has said it feels great that the bank has grown to have about 1 000 staff members.
“Where there is a vision a lot can change and in 15 years, a lot has changed for FDH,” she said.