On Tuesday, 9th March 2021, Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) and Uganda Cancer Society (UCS) jointly launched the patient navigation program – the first ever in Uganda, and second in Africa, after Kenya’s. The UCI Patient Navigation Program has been designed and is being integrated in the UCI system to address barriers to care. The Institute has received a 3.5-year grant from American Cancer Society for the program. Additionally, the Uganda Cancer Society is supplying UCI with a suite of culturally and linguistically-appropriate cancer education materials in 5 languages (English, Luganda for Central Uganda, Runya-Kitara – Western, Acholi – Northern, Lugbara – West Nile, and Lumasaba – Eastern) which will both be used in the clinical setting for education as well as provided to patients and carers to take home.
The program will provide three types of navigation: 1) physical navigation to improve access to care by moving with patient from one care point to another or wheeling them and providing guidance and information about services and their locations in national languages; 2) clinical navigation to increase patients understanding of the disease and their treatment plan and to coordinate patients’ care; and 3) resource navigation to mobilize local resources to meet the psychosocial, spiritual, and economic needs of patients. The program works hand in hand with the medical social workers who assist patients and family members to address their psycho-social needs and provide supports that enhances patients’ adherence to care and treatment.