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Relief for cancer patients as KU hospital’s cancer center to be ready by March, 2021

By Collins Omulo December 14th, 2020 2 min read

Kenyans suffering from cancer will no longer need to travel abroad to seek in search of specialized treatment starting March next year.

This is after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that Kenyatta University Referral Hospital’s Integrated Molecular Imaging Centre will be ready by March, 2021.

The President said that the completion of the facility will see cancer patients treated locally cutting them the pain and financial stress of going abroad for such services.

“By March 2021, once the K.U. Hospital’s Integrated Molecular Imaging Centre is completed, there will no longer be need for any Kenyan to travel abroad in search of specialized cancer treatment. Our capacity will handle most medical conditions treated abroad,” said President Kenyatta on Saturday.

The Head of State in September presided over the groundbreaking of the construction of the center, a first public Molecular Imaging Centre of its kind in the country as well as in the East and Central African region.

General Electric East Africa limited won the contract to construct the public comprehensive cancer centre in July.

The IMIC project, which can host up to 100 patients who are accessing services at the centre or their members of the families, is set to ensure early diagnosis and assessment of response to cancer treatment.

It will also reduce waiting time and cost of cancer treatment as well as enhancing accuracy in diagnosis and treatment of cancer, reduction in recurrent or metastasis of cancer and significantly reducing cancer-related mortality by improving survivorship.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health shows that there are 27,000 cancer related deaths and 40,000 new diagnoses annually as most patients are being diagnosed with stage 3 and 4 cancers due to inadequate diagnostic capacity for early detection.

Cancer treatment has over the years been regarded as a costly affair in the country with many Kenyans preferring to seek medication overseas.

The centre will also set the first public manufacturing plant for consumables used in the PET-scan machines known as Cyclotrone which is only available in South Africa and North Africa.

This will mean Kenyans do not have to go to India or South Africa to access PET-scan machines and other key equipment to diagnose and treat cancer.

At the same time, President Kenyatta said his government is on course in its quest to have in place a robust healthcare infrastructure across the country, amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic.
The President said his administration is working on putting in place an expanded county healthcare infrastructure to address challenges in the health sector.

He said the country has been able to put up more than 20,000 isolation beds since the virus struck in March. This has seen the beds increased from the 7,411 in September to the current 20,910 isolation beds as of December 12, 2020.

“When we were afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic in March this year, we had only 8 infectious diseases ICU beds countrywide. Seven days after the first Covid-19 case was discovered, we were able to increase this bed capacity to 60. Today, we have 827 infectious diseases ICU beds up from 8 beds in March this year,” he said.

More than 91,500 Kenyans have tested positive for Covid-19 since March with at least 1,586 succumbing to the virus.