The Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi (AKUH-Nairobi) announced today that it will work with the Government of Uganda to provide as many as 400 cancer patients with free treatment in response to the breakdown of Uganda’s only radiotherapy machine.
“We are committed to working with the Government of Uganda to help save the lives of cancer patients in need of treatment while it works to reestablish its radiation therapy capacity,” said AKUH-Nairobi Chief Executive Officer Shawn Bolouki.
“Our values as an institution dictate nothing less. While we can only treat a small fraction of those requiring care, given our resources and the tremendous need that exists, we will do all we can to help, and we encourage others to follow our lead.”
This comes just days after government said only 400 out of the 17,000 cancer patients, who need radiotherapy care, will be airlifted to Kenya for treatment.
State minister for Health, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, told Parliament that The Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi had offered to assist only 400 Ugandans who need radiotherapy care as government procures a bunker for a new machine.
According to Bolouki, patient-related logistics are being discussed with the relevant authorities. The treatments will be paid for by Aga Khan University’s (AKU) Patient Welfare Programme, which is funded by the hospital and augmented by individual and corporate donors and provides subsidized medical care to needy patients.
He said the announcement is part of AKU’s commitment to providing high-quality health care to the people of Uganda and to combatting the growth of non-communicable diseases such as cancer in East Africa.
In December, His Highness the Aga Khan, Chancellor of AKU, and Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni announced plans to build a new Aga Khan University Hospital in Kampala (AKUH-Kampala). The first phase of construction is expected to be completed in 2020.
This is the second time that AKUH-Nairobi has offered such assistance to cancer patients. Last year, it provided free radiation therapy to Kenyan patients, including children, after the breakdown of radiotherapy machines at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.
AKUH-Nairobi’s Heart and Cancer Centre, which was inaugurated in 2011, is the first centre of its kind in East Africa. With two radiotherapy units and six radiation oncologists, it provides a wide range of cancer care that meets international standards.