AstraZeneca gives KNH prostate cancer machine

Kenyatta National Hospital. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Pharmaceutical and biotechnology company AstraZeneca has donated a prostate cancer biopsy machine to the Kenyatta National Hospital as part of a larger initiative with seven centres of excellence in hospitals to provide early and accurate detection of the disease.

This is part of an initiative by the National Cancer Institute of Kenya (NCI Kenya) and the Kenya Association of Urological Surgeons (KAUS).

The Anglo-Swedish multinational will also equip KNH with three to four reusable biopsy guns and 10,000 specialist kits that help diagnose prostate cancer through a blood test.

“Our partnership with the National Cancer Institute of Kenya and KAUS to address prostate cancer symbolises our dedication to fighting the growing burden of cancer in Kenya. By improving equitable access to technology that enables early diagnosis, we aim to enhance patient outcomes and, in the process, transform cancer care on the continent,” said Pelin Incesu, AstraZeneca area vice president, Middle East and Africa.

Data from the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) 2014 shows that only three percent of men underwent screening for prostate cancer.

Up to 80 percent of prostate cancer patients in Kenya are diagnosed when the disease is at an advanced stage. The new diagnostic tool aims to improve survival rates.

The low screening rate is due to the unique challenges the health system faces, including limitations in infrastructure and human resources to effectively provide cancer management services.

“The introduction of this ultrasound biopsy machine represents a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to enhance prostate cancer diagnosis. Early detection is crucial in improving treatment outcomes for patients,” said Evanson Kamuri, CEO of the Kenyatta National Hospital.

“With this advanced equipment, we aim to reduce the number of late-stage diagnoses and provide more effective treatments to those under our care.”

Other hospitals across Kenya to be equipped with the ultrasound biopsy machine by the end of the year include Moi University Teaching & Referral Hospital (Eldoret), Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital (Nairobi), Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching & Referral Hospital (Kisumu), Coast General Teaching & Referral Hospital (Mombasa), Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital (Meru), and Kakamega County General Teaching and Referral Hospital.

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