By Lorraine Anyango
On completion the ongoing Kisumu Comprehensive Cancer and Hematology Centre at the Kisumu’s Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) will be a centre for comprehensive management of cancer and blood disorders serving the entire East and Central Africa region and beyond.
Bone Marrow transplant services will be available saving patients from travelling to centres outside the region like India, South Africa, USA and Europe.
This new development will position Kisumu as a medical tourism hub in the region.
KCCHC‘s brick and mortar work that is expected to be complete by March 2022 and the installation of equipment including the PET scan (an advanced digital tool for cancer diagnosis) will be complete in another three months.
“On completion the centre will improve cancer patient’s survival rates by availing facilities for early diagnosis which is the pillar in cancer management outcomes.” Dr George Rae, CEO JTOORH says. The construction includes the Radio nuclear Bankers for protection from the harmful effects of the radioisotopes which will be generated for the cancer treatment he added.
Each county in Kenya reports approximately 40 deaths annually from cervical cancer a leading cause of death in women. “That is approximately a classroom of women succumbing due to cancer’’. In Kenya there are currently only three public hospitals offering comprehensive cancer treatment and care. The remaining majority are private outfits which are out of reach to the common man due to the exorbitant cost.” Dr Greggory Ganda, Kisumu County Chief Officer of Health.
A full course of cancer treatment takes approximately 90 days further clogging up the system and limiting the numbers that can be served at any given time he added.
Within the KCCHC, sickle cell disease one of the most common blood disorders in the Lake region will also be addressed through a programme supported by the American Society of Hematology (ASH) who have donated a Migelle machine to be used in screening infants for sickle cell disease to facilitate early diagnosis and management.
Other services will include therapeutic apheresis, and Bone marrow transplant facilities to address Sickle cell disease and other hemato-oncological conditions like leukemia .”
“We plan to screen 38,000 new born babies for sickle cell annually for the next
five years, this will help reduce mortality amongst children born in Kisumu as it’s
the epi-centre of SCD in Kenya.” Dr Ganda added.
ONGOING CANCER INTERVENTIONS AT JTOORH
At the moment screening of cervical cancer is ongoing and free at JOOTRH in room 16 within the hospital. The service has been facilitated through the support from the International Cancer Institute (ICI) who have also sponsored trainings to improve the economic status of the cancer patients and survivors.
On average it would cost a patient up to Kenya shillings 35,000 for consultation, and laboratory work ups before patient is commenced on cancer treatment.
“It is important for all the residents of Kisumu to take advantage of these services and come up for screening, this service has been running for the last one year.’ Mr Kennedy Juma Olweny, a clinical care research and administration officer at JTOORH said.
He noted that many residents present to the hospital late with already advanced disease leading to high mortalities.
At JOOTRH centre last year alone a total of 147 biopsies were performed 43 Breast biopsies ( 24 confirmed malignant) , 52 Cervical biopsies ( 4 confirmed malignant) , 50 Cervical pap-smears . There is also an MOU with ICI to support the pharmacy through a revolving fund to ensure continuous drug supply.
Mama County Her Excellency Dorothy Nyongo has also supported the Cancer patients and survivors access safe and nutritious food through a fund drive that enabled purchase of food staff for distribution and establishment of a kitchen garden at JOOTRH for the traditional vegetables.
“Those Osugas Managus, boo, and the other vegetables are your life line, have
your vegetables within your homes, when you grow them yourself you are sure no chemicals have been added, you will get the most of nutrients your body requires out of them.” Mama Dorothy advices.
The Current human resource in the department of oncology consists of three Clinical oncologist and two more to join by end of the year.