By Sharon Atieno

With more than 80% of prostate cancer patients in Kenya being diagnosed with advanced stages and aggressive tumours, Astrazeneca, a multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, has launched an initiative to donate cutting-edge ultrasound biopsy machines to several hospitals across the country.

The initiative dubbed Cancer Care Africa working in partnership with the National Cancer Institute of Kenya (NCI Kenya) and the Kenya Association of Urological Surgeons (KAUS), will deliver the machines before the end of the year.

The beneficiary hospitals include Kenyatta National Hospital (Nairobi), Moi University Teaching & Referral Hospital (Eldoret), Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital (Nairobi), Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching & Referral Hospital (Kisumu), Coast General Teaching & Referral Hospital (Mombasa), Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital (Meru), and Kakamega County General Teaching and Referral Hospital (Kakamega).

“AstraZeneca is deeply committed to bolstering healthcare systems in Africa, supporting them to become more resilient and sustainable. Our partnership with the National Cancer Institute of Kenya and KAUS to address prostate cancer symbolizes our dedication to fighting the growing burden of cancer in Kenya,” said Pelin Incesu, Area Vice President, Middle East and Africa, AstraZeneca.

“By improving equitable access to technology that enables early diagnosis, we aim to enhance patient outcomes and, in the process, transform cancer care on the continent.”

Dr Elias Melly, CEO, NCI Kenya, said: “This exciting new partnership transcends the immediate benefits to patients. By enhancing the ability of our healthcare system to fight the growing challenge of cancer, we are empowering communities to seek better cancer care and ultimately experience better outcomes. It’s a transformative step towards a healthier tomorrow.”

Of the seven hospitals, Kenyatta National Hospital is the first to receive its biopsy machine in an event that took place on 2nd November.

“The introduction of this ultrasound biopsy machine represents a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to enhance prostate cancer diagnosis. Early detection is crucial in improving treatment outcomes for patients. With this advanced equipment, we aim to reduce the number of late-stage diagnoses and provide more effective treatments to those under our care,” said Dr. Evanson Kamuri, CEO, Kenyatta National Hospital.

Once the ultrasound biopsy machine is in place, the initiative will also equip Kenyatta National Hospital with 3-4 reusable biopsy guns and 10,000 specialist kits that help diagnose prostate cancer through a blood test. These tools all aid the detection of prostate cancer, helping to improve the patient journey as well as outcomes.

As part of the partnership, NCI Kenya and KAUS will also set the benchmark for prostate cancer practice and standards across counties, ensuring each of the seven hospital centers excel in clinical care, research innovation, and capacity building.