“The assembling of the equipment will take a couple of weeks, followed by testing. We are sure that within a month time from the arrival of the machine, it will be commissioned and starts working,” he added.
Uganda Cancer Institute, executive director Dr. Jackson Orem addressing the media. Photos by Wilson Manishimwe
The cobalt 60 machine commonly known as radiotherapy machine for cancer treatment will start working in September this year. According to Dr. Jackson Orem, the executive director Uganda Cancer Institute, the sh2.6b machine will arrive in Uganda late July and will take another month in experimentation before technicians start using it in treatment of people. The machine was purchased in Czech Republic.
"The machine is being transported in two ways; the head will be airlifted and will arrive in Uganda on July 26 whereas the bulky part is now being shipped. We have already finished clearing with Uganda Revenue Authority and by July 28 it will have arrived in Mombasa to proceed to Kampala," he stated.
Speaking to journalists during the tour of the radiotherapy services at the institute, Orem said the refurbishment of bunkers is complete and what they are waiting for is the arrival of the machine.
"The assembling of the equipment will take a couple of weeks, followed by testing. We are sure that within a month time from the arrival of the machine, it will be commissioned and starts working," he added.
Early last year, the radiotherapy machine that is said to have been procured in 1995 broke down and patients were referred abroad for treatment. Some patients were referred to Agha Khan Hospital in Nairobi for free radiotherapy treatment since the breakdown.
Orem said with the new installment of the machine, patients won't need to travel abroad for treatment of cancer. He also said the construction of modern radiotherapy center at the cancer institute with about nine bunkers.
Henry Ddungu, a consultant at the institute told journalists that soon there shall be establishment of bone marrow transplant Centre at the institute and will not only save Ugandans from travelling abroad for services but sections of people across East Africa.
Annually the cancer institute treats 27,100 cancer cases of which 6,000 are new cases and 78 % of newly diagnosed cancer patients die by the end of one year.