Unveiling of new cancer machine postponed to tomorrow

Uganda’s sole radiotherapy machine. Cancer patients will breathe a sigh of relief after the new radiotherapy machine arrived into the country this week. Courtesy photo.

The new cancer machine that arrived in the country at the weekend will be unveiled tomorrow Wednesday sources from the Health ministry have revealed.

The Cobalt 60 Teletherapy machine manufactured by Czech Republic’s multi technology company, UJP Praha that majorly deals in medical, nuclear and industrial machineries was supposed to be unveiled today by Health minister Ruth Aceng.

According to information obtained by PML Daily, the machine was procured at a cost of Euro 664,830 (about UGX2.8 billion) by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a United Nations body that regulates use of nuclear and atomic energy, and the Ugandan government, with each contributing 50 per cent of the total cost.

“This is to certify that Cobalt-60 teletherapy unit TERABALT equipment and materials destined for Uganda are free of import taxes fees and dues from which the International Atomic Energy Agency is exempted by virtue of the privileges and immunities accorded to it by its member states,” a letter from IAEA seen by this website reads in part.

IAEA offered to help the country procure a cancer machine a couple of years ago but the government didn’t have the UGX 30 billion needed at the time to construct the bunker to house the machine.

It was not until March 28, 2016 when the only cancer machine at Mulago National Referral Hospital broke down that the government realized the urgency of the IAEA offer.

In the absence of a cobalt 60 radiotherapy machine, the patients in the country were advised to travel to Nairobi, Kenya for treatment. Others were changed to chemotherapy, surgery and palliative care.



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