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Hell as KNH set to shut down radio therapy machines

The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has announced plans to shut down its radio therapy machines temporarily for maintenance.

The development adds misery to poor cancer patients who rely on the facilities in public hospitals to alleviate their pain.

The hospital’s corporate affairs and communications manager Simon Ithai sent a brief statement to newsrooms on Monday announcing the shut down.

“We regret to inform you of temporary interruption of our radiotherapy treatment service. This is to facilitate routine maintenance in order to correct a detected error that could compromise the quality of treatment.

“The technical team is working round the clock to restore normal service within the shortest time possible,” he said.

“The clinical team has assured that the treatment of the patients will not be adversely affected. All other cancer treatment services will continue uninterrupted.”

He did not give an indication on when the shutdown will commence and how long it would last.

As of March this year, KNH was the only public health centre with radio therapy machines. The two machines however regularly break down.

A single radiotherapy session at KNH costs Sh500 while a similar session at private hospitals costs between Sh5,000 and Sh10,000.

The 2014 Economic Survey ranked cancer as the third leading killer in Kenya after malaria and pneumonia.

KNH receives 2,000 cancer patients daily but can only manage 150.