This TrueBeam machine which treats about 70 patients on a daily basis is just a year old having been installed in August 2020. It was procured by the government at USD 4 million, and it's more preferred by both doctors and patients than the Cobalt 60.
There was a slowdown
of radiotherapy services at the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) on Wednesday creating
panic among patients that the machines could have been
broken down, once again.
While URN later learnt from the administrators that the
newly acquired TrueBeam linear accelerator was down for servicing, a patient
who requested to be kept anonymous for fear of compromising her relationship with
the doctors said she travelled all the way from Mbarara only to be turned away.
This TrueBeam machine which treats about 70 patients on a daily basis is just a year old having been
installed in August 2020. It was procured by the government at USD 4 million, and it's more preferred by both doctors and patients than the Cobalt 60. More than 200 patients receive radiation
treatment from the Uganda Cancer Institute every day.
Christine Namulindwa, the Institute’s Public Relations Officer refutes claims
of a standstill in services saying that they have two other machines that can offer radiotherapy
services. These are Cobalt 60 radiotherapy
machines that treat up to 80 patients each in a day.
//Cue in; “With radiotherapy treatment…
Cue out…. Car for servicing.”//
Namulindwa says the much sought after linear accelerator that is preferred for its
preciseness and ability to quickly and specifically target some of the most
complex cancers such as that of the head, liver and lungs will be up and running again next week when
the servicing is done.
//Cue in; “I will not say…
Cue out…Hundred thirty patients.”//
Last year as it
was being installed, Dr Jackson Orem, the Institute’s Executive Director said machine
uses microwave technology to accelerate high energy x-rays or electrons to
conform to a tumour’s shape and destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding
normal tissue. It also features several built-in safety measures to ensure that
it will deliver the dose as prescribed.
However, while healthcare in government facilities is
generally free, radiotherapy services at the institute are accessed at a fee
which Namulindwa says this money caters for the maintenance of the machines.