Kenya’s big milestone offers cancer patients a lifeline

Written By: Margaret Kalekye

Cancer patients have been given a lifeline after the government recorded a major milestone in local production of consumables used for early diagnosis.

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The Integrated Molecular Imaging Center (MIC) at Kenyatta University Teaching, Research and Referral Hospital will be supplying counties with radio-isotopes that can serve a minimum of 15 patients daily.

There has been increased demand for radioisotopes which are imported making cancer diagnosis and treatment in the country expensive.

Kenya is the only country in East Africa region that is producing the isotopes locally.

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Health CS Mutahi Kagwe who visited the state-of-the-art facility Wednesday in the company of several governors said the advanced technologies at the facility will reduce the burden of cancer which is now a top killer in the country.

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50,000 new cancer cases are recorded annually with 70 per cent of patients succumbing to the disease.

“It concerns this government deeply, that on an annual basis, we register an approximate fifty thousand new cases of cancers annually, and sadly, as I have said before, we end up losing about 70 per cent of those afflicted. That is 35,000 deaths every year to add insult to horrible injury, most likely 35/000 bankruptcies”. Kagwe observed.

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He attributed the high fatality rates to infrastructural and resource limitations and late diagnosis adding that the new facility will ease the struggles Kenyans go through to access treatment.

“Gone will be the days when our sick people were forced on tiresome journeys to Nairobi in search of medical care. Also gone will be the days, when Kenyans were compelled to spend in excess of Ksh. 8 billion annually, seeking cancer treatment in countries such as India, South Africa and Dubai” said the CS.

He said plans were at an advanced stated to set up similar facilities across the counties.

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“Gone will be the days when our loved ones perished because of poor screening, misdiagnosis or inaccessibility to treatment.  Cancer will no longer be an automatic death sentence, neither will it be a disease that bankrupts families, and erases years of hard work” he added.

He urged governors to strategize and utilize allocations from the national government in a manner that will help the citizens.

The molecular centre will offer prevention, screening, diagnostics, treatment, survivorship and palliative care services.

It will house a PET Radio-pharmacy System which readies the radio-isotopes for imaging, and the coveted PET/CT scanning machines.






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