NAIROBI, 26th October 2018 (PSCU) – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta today commissioned an ultra-modern Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scanner and a Cyclotron machine, the first of its kind in East and Central Africa.
With the launch of the PET CT Scanner at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, cancer patients will now have the option of getting the much needed cancer diagnosis services right here in the country.
The hospital invested over Shs 600 million to become the only health facility in East and Central Africa to install the ultra modern equipment for cancer diagnosis.
The PET CT scanner and the Cyclotron machine will be a game changer in diagnostic medicine in the region as they deliver high level accuracy.
The new technology will enable doctors to identify disease at the cell level thus ensuring early detection and timely treatment of chronic illnesses.
Information generated from PET CT scans would enable oncologists to make better treatment and follow up plans for cancer patients.
Speaking at the launch, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said the new PET SCAN technology will change and enhance diagnostic medicine in Kenya and across the region.
She noted that the Government, under the Universal Health Coverage initiative, has prioritised and invested in modern equipment across the country so as to enhance efforts in early diagnosis of various ailments like cancer.
“This will also protect families – men, women and children – from the suffering, and costly treatments that are associated with cancer and other complex diseases such as heart diseases, brain and other central nervous system problems,” said the First Lady.
She pointed out that, the new health technology has the potential to translate the country’s health systems into better treatment outcomes, saving more lives.
“We all know people – relatives, families, friends – who have had to travel outside Kenya, separated from their support systems and spending many days or months away in search of specialized medical care,” she said.
The First Lady reckoned that the new technology also positions Kenya at a competitive advantage in regional medical tourism and as a medical hub in the continent.
She observed that currently, the world is witnessing alarming increased cases of chronic non-communicable diseases. In Kenya, it is estimated that these diseases contribute to more than half of hospital admissions and account for close to a third of all deaths.
“As we recognise October as Breast Cancer month, we are aware that the cancer burden continues to rise with over 47,000 new recorded cases diagnosed annually. Sadly, many of these cases are presented in advanced stages due to delays in early diagnosis of the disease,” she said.
She applauded the Aga Khan University Hospital in its effort, devotion and dedication in providing 60 years of quality healthcare services in the country.
The First Lady also commended the General Electric (GE) company, the supplier of the scanner, for its commitment to contributing towards better health outcomes in Kenya as well as investing in skills and knowledge transfer through training of over 200 cancer specialists from across the region on the new technology.
“This will enable our doctors and clinicians to confidently determine the patients’ response to cancer treatments and follow up plans,” said the First Lady.
The President of the Aga Khan University leadership Firoz Rasul and the Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan University Hospital, Shawn Bolouki said the new technology is a crucial and timely technology in the fight against non-communicable diseases.
The Director of Medical Services, Dr. Jackson Kioko said with the new technology, Kenya has achieved a major milestone in health care provision for the benefit of all citizens.
Kenya is now the fourth country in Africa to have such a facility after Egypt, Morocco and South Africa.