Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A new cancer machine has been officially commissioned at Uganda Cancer Institute. The machine will enable the institution to receive up to 30,000 cancer patients annually and run with two cobalt 60 radiotherapy machines.
Costing a million dollars, the machine is a donation from the government of India and is expected to revamp radiation treatment at the institute reducing pressure on the existing one that has been serving up to 80 patients a day.
Guest at the launch was Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kuteesa who said that the gift was a promise by India Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi when he visited Uganda in 2018. He said it further seals the relations the country has with India in terms of healthcare cooperation which also involves training of medical workers.
Ravi Shankar, the Indian High Commissioner said that the people of India gave a gift of life to Ugandans considering that globally even in countries that have advanced in technology in terms of cancer care, a lot of people are still dying of cancer.
Everest Katungwensi, a Senior Radiation Therapist at the institute said the machine will be working on about 40 patients per day and that up to 60% of people seeking treatment for cancer will need radiotherapy as one of the treatment interventions.
This machine he said works on all the common cancers they receive at the institute including cervical and children’s cancers.
He said the machine has a wireless hand pendant that enables them to perform patient set up, record and verification and treatment delivery with fast and highly efficient workflow and that it can be tilted to all directions depending on which type of cancer they are focusing on.
The new machine is similar to the already existing cobalt machine only different in terms of make since the other one is Canadian made.
However, the Uganda Cancer Institute has previously suffered a crisis when the only machine available shut down beyond repair in 2016.
A new machine was then ferried in and fees for radiotherapy services established ranging between Shs30, 000 and Shs250, 000 depending on the kind of radiation required. The fees, according to the cancer institute are going to be maintained even with the new machine coming in.