Uganda gets new radiotherapy machine

A new cancer machine has been shipped to Uganda, to be set up at the country’s main cancer unit in the capital, Kampala after the only and oldest one broke down in March 2016.

Following the failure of the country’s one radiotherapy machine at the Uganda Cancer Institute, where at least 40,000 new referrals are recorded every year, patients who needed radiation were left with the option of traveling to Kenya for the treatment if they could afford.

For the the last 17 months, most of the patients suffering from cancer were put under chemotherapy or had surgery performed instead.

Uganda acquired the new radiotherapy machine from the Czech Republic at 800,000 dollars, but a delay in the renovation of the banker where it will sit had dragged the process of getting it into the country.

The cobalt 60 machine arrived through Mombasa last week with the help of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“The machine is in a warehouse somewhere in Kampala, a container containing its parts will be delivered to Uganda Cancer Institute on Wednesday and installation is expected to last at least one month”, Dr. Jackson Orem, the executive director of the institute said in a statement.

The renovation of the radiotherapy banker to house the machine has been completed at a cost of over 300,000 dollars.

The old machine that is broken beyond repair will be shipped back to China from where Uganda got it as a donation in 1995.

A radiotherapy machine kills cancerous cells in specific parts of the body using radiation, and applies to many types of cancer.