Kenya made the first operation and treatment of a tumor using the ultra Cyberknife technology.
The inaugural digital procedure took place at the Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital (KUTRRH) and the first patient Benjamin Muthama who has a tumor located between the eye and nose walked out of the operation room without undergoing open surgery.
The Cyberknife is the first non-invasive cancer treatment technology in Kenya and the region and the second in the continent after Egypt acquired one last year.
Muthama, a 28-year-old software engineer who was accompanied by his father Jonathan Mutunga, expressed his relief after safely coming out of the 30-minute treatment without having to spend extra time in a ward as is the case in conventional operations.
The patient whose tumor is non-cancerous said he has waited for the moment since 2021 and the family was even considering going India for the treatment.
The treatment was carried out by a team including oncologists, medical physists and radiotherapists among others.
According to the Hospital Board Chairperson Prof Olive Mugenda the occasion was not only historic but marks a huge stride in the institution’s efforts to help actualize the country’s Universal Health Care goals.
“We are excited at the commencement of this procedure at a public institution which is fully covered by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NSSF) at an affordable cost,” said Prof Mugenda after leading other Board members in witnessing the historical event via a screen.
She said the Cyberknife will be able to treat at least 10 patients in a day and so far about 100 have been booked in a waiting list.
Dr Tracy Irura, an oncologist at KUTRRH said the precision treatment machine with upto 1 millimeter accuracy will be able to treat a minimum of 300 patients in the first year.
Elie Jabbour, an expert from Accury who are the manufacturers of the Cyberknife, said Kenyans won’t have to travel outside the country for treatment and that the company will be giving support to local medics through training.
He said the Cyberknife, a robotic machine which treats from 6,000 angles hits the tumor different sides and is so far the best in the market.
Report by Antony Kioko