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Economy

Hi-tech cancer scanner to ease costs in Nairobi beginning April

David Makumi, the Kenya Cancer Organisations Network chairman. file photo | nmg
David Makumi, the Kenya Cancer Organisations Network chairman. file photo | nmg 

The Aga Khan University Hospital and an India-based hospital will next year separately install Positron Emission Tomography (PET) CT scanner and Cyclotron cancer diagnosis machines locally, cutting medical costs for patients who travel abroad for the service.

The Aga Khan University Hospital will offer the PET-CT Cyclotron scan from March while Bangalore-based HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd (HCG), India’s largest cancer treatment hospital chains, will have its machines ready from April.

A PET CT scan is an imaging test that is used to diagnose diseases such as cancer for faster intervention. It also monitors how well treatment is working.

Kenyans fly to India, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco for PET CT Cyclotron scan at a cost of $2,200 (Sh226,000) a session or $4,000 (Sh412, 000) inclusive of travel and accommodation.

The investments come as the deadly disease emerges as a public health crisis where hospitals, especially public facilities, struggle to cope with rising number of cancer cases.
Experts say bringing the machines locally will lower the cost of treatment by about 40 per cent.

“We do not have a PET Cyclotron scan in Kenya at this point in time. However, this will change in the coming year as private sector players AKUHN and HCG Cancer Care Kenya are working to bring in the first PET Cyclotron scan in the country,” David Makumi, the Kenya Cancer Organisations Network chairman.

Kenya has only 20 oncologists yet more than 40,000 Kenyans are diagnosed with cancer diseases every year. Cancer is the third leading killer disease in Kenya after pneumonia and malaria, according to the 2016 Economic Survey.

“Patients will no longer have to travel to India or abroad to get this service as it will be available right here in Nairobi,” said Aga Khan chief executive Shawn Bolouki.

“The technology was acquired at an approximate cost of Sh600 million and will revolutionise diagnostics and treatment in the region.”

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