New cancer centre to serve 20m Kenyans
Equra Health Kenya (EquraHealth.co.za) has officially opened the Eldoret Comprehensive Cancer Centre in the fast-growing agricultural and trade town of Eldoret in Western Kenya. The facility will serve a broader population of 20 million people across Western Kenya, Uganda and parts of Rwanda; many of whom previously would have had to fly or travel over five hours by road to Nairobi for treatment.
Offering world-class facilities with the latest radiotherapy equipment, the new Eldoret Comprehensive Cancer Centre can treat up to 60 patients a day and brings advanced cancer treatment to the doorstep of a region that was largely under-served in terms of advanced radiotherapy.
The centre, on the campus of the Eldoret Hospital, became the first facility in Western Kenya with a linear accelerator earlier this year, when it was equipped with a modern dual photon energy linear accelerator from Varian Medical Systems. It has a 120-leaf multileaf collimator and a high resolution electronic portal imager, and is capable of treating patients with a wide range of electrons, 3D conformal external beam radiation and with Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). The department also offers high-dose rate brachytherapy with a new and modern afterloader.
The Eldoret Comprehensive Cancer Centre first opened its doors for oncology consultations, chemotherapy services and 24-hour in-hospital care in August 2016, and began offering comprehensive radiotherapy, a first for Western Kenya, at the beginning of April 2017. Full services have been available since the beginning of June 2017.
Mr. Erhardt Korf, CEO of Equra Health Kenya Limited, the owners and operators of the facility, notes that Equra Health has also invested significantly in infrastructure to deliver stable power supplies to the facility. “We have implemented additional surge protection and powerful UPS systems to ensure reliable power and stable levels of service,” he says.
Mr. Korf says Eldoret was selected as the site of the latest Equra Health radiotherapy facility due to its extensive regional population and the fact that the town already has a strong medical referral infrastructure and oncology experts such as Dr. Jesse Opakas, now the main treating Clinical and Radiation Oncologist at the new Centre. “Our company philosophy has always been to take comprehensive oncology services closer to where people live and work. In South Africa too, we invest in centres outside of the major metros to deliver advanced cancer treatment to those who cannot easily travel to the major cities,” he says.
He notes that patients may require radiotherapy daily for up to seven weeks. When they have to travel long distances for treatment, they must incur travel costs, the costs of board and lodging for the duration of treatment, and they must be away from work during treatment. “By bringing this treatment closer to people, we enable them to continue working and benefit from the support of their families, as well as eliminating the costs of travel and accommodation in a major metro,” he says.
Dr. Opakas says: “The opening of the new centre represents a new dawn of quality cancer care in this region. The start of radiotherapy services is the fruit of many people’s hard work over the last 24 months, and we are looking forward to serving the community in Kenya and surrounds with our quality service and excellent patient care. We believe that positive clinical outcomes matter most, and that value in healthcare is always a function of both the outcomes achieved and the cost paid for the services.”