The Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi has treated 102 cancer patients since the breakdown of the radiotherapy machine at the Uganda Cancer Institute-Mulago. The treatment at Agha Khan University Hospital in Kenya would have cost cost close to 700 million Shillings. However, the patients were not charged under the partnership.
The patients were referred to Kenya after the breakdown of the radiotherapy machine at Uganda Cancer Institute in early 2016. The Agha Khan Hospital following a lot of public outcry offered to provide radiotherapy treatment to Ugandan patents seeking radio therapy services.
The treatment at Agha Khan University Hospital in Kenya would have cost cost close to 700 million Shillings (USD 193, 000). However, the patients were not charged under the partnership.
Uganda Cancer Institute Executive Director Dr Jackson Orem says his administration worked out a plan that ensured patients referred to Agha Khan had all the screenings from Mulago so that they would be put on radiotherapy as soon as they arrived at Agha Khan University.
Dr Orem says that two of the patients died in Nairobi as of the June 2017 report from Agha Khan University. He adds that lessons have been taken from the Agha Khan- Uganda Cancer Institute collaboration which could be used to provide services in case any of the countries in the region faced a crisis similar to what is being experienced at Mulago.
Meanwhile Dr Orem says he and his staff at Uganda Cancer Institute are looking towards September when the Cobalt 60 radiotherapy machine gets delivered from Czech Republic.
Uganda Radio Network saw a bill of lading for the machine. The document indicates that the machine was shipped on June 22 from Hamburg in Germany and was expected at the Mombasa port by end of September,
Orem said the Uganda Cancer Institute has developed a program with 22 items to be covered before the Cobalt 60 machine and two other machines are commissioned to resume the radiotherapy and other newly services to patients.
He says the Institute is midway the plan having fully refurbished the bunker that used to host the machine that broke down. The old machine was decommissioned as per the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommendations.
Deputy Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Kwaku Aning toured the refurbished old bunker and five others whose construction was completed in May.
Kwaku Aning toured the bunkers with Energy Minister, Irene Muloni whose ministry is mandated to coordinate with the International Atomic Energy Agency in the application of nuclear technology in areas like health, agriculture and electricity generation.
Aning said he was impressed by the fact that the government was able to refurbish the old bunkers ad also have new ones constructed according to International Atomic Energy Agency standards. International Atomic Energy Agency has been offering technical advice to Uganda on safe application of nuclear energy.