NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 5 – The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has procured a Sh102.6 million cancer treatment cobalt machine using a radioactive source.
A press statement from the hospital stated that the radioactive source emits high energy gamma rays which are used in the treatment of various types of cancers.
According to the statement, other components of the main Cobalt Unit including an isocentric machine that allows the source to rotate around a fixed position are currently in the high seas being shipped into the country.
“The Hospital has streneuosly provided services to cancer patients with one aging cobalt machine which has been experiencing frequent breakdown due to aging and has been serving between 120 -150 patients per day,” the statement said.
“While the new cobalt machine will offer contigency services, the Hospital requires two (2) additional cobalt machines to meet the increasing demand for cancer treatment in the country,” it stated.
It is anticipated that the machine will be ready for use for treatment from March 2011.
The machine has been procured with funding from cost-sharing fees paid by patients.
The statement described this as an effort by KNH to mitigate the challenges experienced by patients waiting for cancer treatment.
“A works programme on decommission of old equipment and installation of the new one will be provided by the suppliers’ local agents.”
The installation of the Cobalt 60 Teletherapy Machine is critical and a major investment to Kenyatta National Hospital considering it is the only public facility offering radiotherapy treatment.
KNH handles between 3000- 4000 new patients per year. Despite this load of work, there is a waiting period of 6 – 8 weeks for new patients to be reviewed due to inadequate equipment and lack of adequately trained manpower.
It is estimated that the prevalence of cancer in Kenya is approximately 80,000 cases per year.
Kenyatta National Hospital has already undertaken installations of a simulator and a gamma camera at the Cancer Treatment Centre in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.).
The Hospital has come up with a Comprehensive Project Proposal on Expansion and Establishment of Cancer Services in Kenya and is spearheading establishment of these Cancer Centres in the country.
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