Gov’t investing in modern equipment to help early disease diagnosis – First Lady
- Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi claims to have invested more than Ksh.600 million in the purchase of the PET scanner.
- The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has committed to cover the full cost of PET-CT services at the Aga Khan University Hospital, a reprieve for cancer patients, who are often burdened by the high cost of treatment.
- The First Lady observed that currently, the world is witnessing alarming increased cases of chronic non-communicable diseases.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Friday noted that the government has prioritised and invested in modern equipment 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.
Speaking during the inauguration of a Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) scanner at Aga Khan University Hospital, Mrs. Kenyatta said the new PET SCAN technology will change and enhance diagnostic medicine in Kenya and across the region.
“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 hospital invested more than Ksh.600 million in the purchase of the scanner.
“The launch of PET-CT scanner services could hardly be more timely,” said Shawn Bolouki, Chief Executive Officer of the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi. “Cancer, heart disease and other non-communicable diseases now account for nearly three in 10 deaths in Kenya, according to the World Health Organization. The PET-CT scanner is a life-saving tool in the fight against these deadly diseases.”
The PET-CT scanner and Cyclotron is the first such scanner in East and Central Africa. It enables physicians to study the body in extraordinary detail, allowing them to diagnose diseases early and plan the most effective course of treatment.
The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has committed to cover the full cost of PET-CT services at the Aga Khan University Hospital, a reprieve for cancer patients, who are often burdened by the high cost of treatment. In addition, the arrival of the scanner means patients will no longer have to incur the travel costs associated with leaving the region to access this advanced technology.
Mr Bolouki thanked GE Healthcare for partnering with the Aga Khan University Hospital to hold a symposium on Thursday that drew 250 health professionals to learn more about PET-CT’s role in diagnosis and treatment.
The PET-CT scanner will also be used in the diagnosis and management of neurological conditions such as dementia and epilepsy. The service will be offered as an outpatient procedure unless the patient is already admitted to the hospital.
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