The first Linear Accelerator (LINAC) high-precision cancer treatment machine started providing service at the Black lion Specialized Hospital. LINAC is the leading and most advanced cancer treatment technology in the world. The inaugural ceremony was held on 30 November in the attendance of HE Roman Tesfaye former First Lady of Ethiopia, HE Dr. Lia Tadesse; Minister of Health, Professor Tassew W/Hanna President of Addis Ababa University, Dr. Yirgu Gebrehiwot Director of Clinical Services of the Black lion Specialized Hospital, Dr. Dawit Wondimagegn Chief Executive Director of Addis Ababa University Health Science College, other guests and staff of the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Black Lion Specialized Hospital.

Speaking at the event Her Excellency Roman Tesfaye said she is very pleased with this important milestone achieved in Ethiopia’s cancer treatment program. ‘The Linear Accelerator is a significant plus to our cancer treatment capacities. The machine will provide effective treatment with high accuracy and minimum side effects. This new capacity also shortens the long waiting time of treatment. This is wonderful news for thousands of our citizens suffering from cancer and their families’’ said Roman.

HE Roman recalled some key achievements in combating cancer in Ethiopia in the past years. The launch of the National Cancer Control Strategy, the provision of cervical cancer screening and treatment services in 600 Woreda health facilities, and the increment in the number of oncologists from four to 20 are some of the achievements she mentioned. Roman thanked the Ministry of Health for its effective leadership and coordination role and acknowledged the commendable work of the National Cancer Committee and local and international partners supporting the cancer awareness and treatment efforts in Ethiopia.

Roman urged MOH and partners to speed up the installation of the Linear Accelerator machines in the other five university hospitals as per the plans to expand cancer treatment service to regions. She also called for an assessment on the implementation of the National Cancer Control strategy to draw lessons and best practices towards focused and effective interventions.

Former First Lady Roman Tesfaye is known for her leadership and advocacy work in fighting cancer in Ethiopia. Creating awareness on cervical and breast cancer; the leading causes of cancer deaths among Ethiopian women and making treatment accessible and affordable are among her advocacy targets that are now integrated into the Maternal and Child Health Programme of the Hailemariam and Roman Foundation. In 2016, Roman Tesfaye was recognized and awarded by the American Cancer Society for her outstanding leadership in combating cancer in Ethiopia.