The much-touted National Cancer Centre is expected to be ready by May 2017 and save government about K480 million ($960 000) spent on cancer treatment referrals abroad annually.
Eight months ago, Parliament authorised government to borrow $13.1 million (about K5.3 billion) from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) Fund for International Development and the Ministry of Health has since hired a consultant, Osmond Lange from South Africa, who has since finalised the detailed designs and engineering drawings for the centre.
In a written response to a questionnaire yesterday, Ministry of Health director of policy, planning and development Dalitso Kabambe said government was in the process of evaluating bids for the works.
He said: “This may happen by end September 2015 and, therefore, contractor mobilisation is expected and planned for October 2015. Actual construction is expected to take 18 months, meaning that the project may be delivered by May 2017.”
The centre will have the capacity to handle 2 000 cancer cases annually.
The centre will also have facilities for in-service training of oncology medical staff.
According to the 2015/16 national budget allocations to Ministry of Health, about K150 million has been allocated as government’s contribution to the project while Opec Fund will disburse K1.1 billion.
The project stirred controversy after government changed the earlier identified location from Lilongwe to Blantyre.
The opposition protested the planned relocation from Lilongwe and a subsequent Parliamentary Committee on Health report recommended that the project remain in Lilongwe for easier access by patients referred from Northern and Southern regions.