, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – The Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) is set to provide 400 radiotherapy treatment sessions free of charge to cancer patients following a breakdown of radiotherapy machines at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), to lessen the crisis there.
The Director of Medical Services Nicholas Muraguri pointed out that the sessions will be for patients whose treatment was interrupted by the breakdown of equipment at KNH.
“Following the breakdown of the radiotherapy machines at the Kenyatta National Hospital last week, the Ministry of Health begun negotiations with private hospitals to provide radiotherapy treatment to cancer patients whose treatment was interrupted by the breakdown,” he stated.
Muraguri revealed that the private hospital is also working closely with KNH to identify needy children on the waiting list in order to provide them with the treatment.
“It is worth noting that AKUH has a long standing working relationship with KNH, whereby cancer patients from KNH are provided with highly subsidized radiotherapy treatment at AKUH. The Ministry is pleased to inform the public that a new Linear Accelerator (LINAC) is being installed. Patients are also accessing radiotherapy treatment in other hospitals,” he said.
A linear accelerator is used for external beam radiation treatments for patients with cancer and is also used to treat all organs of the body by delivering high-energy x-rays to the region with tumours.
Muraguri further indicated that the ministry is working on a financing plan to optimise the existing radiotherapy capacity of the private sector through a public-private partnership arrangement.
“In this strategy, patients from the public sector are going to access radiotherapy treatment facilities in the private sector with support from the national government,” he stated.
KNH is the only public health centre that treats cancer and has only two radiotherapy machines.
A single radiotherapy session at KNH costs Sh500 while private hospitals charge between Sh5,000 and Sh10,000.
The 2014 Economic Survey ranked cancer as the third leading killer in Kenya after malaria and pneumonia.