Cobalt 60 technology will reduce healthcare costs

 Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director Esther Ngari. [Courtesy]

In the multifaceted battle against cancer, the cornerstone of our strategy is the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment.

Recognising the critical need for this precision, Kenya has significantly expanded its healthcare infrastructure. This expansion includes the opening of new cancer treatment centres nationwide, aimed at making top-tier care accessible to all.

Central to this mission is our collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the Cobalt 60 initiative, a ground-breaking advancement in cancer care underscoring our dedication to innovation and the well-being of our communities.

The establishment of the Cobalt 60 calibration unit, a fruitful partnership with the IAEA, marks a major milestone in healthcare. As the first system of its kind in East Africa and one of the rare few across the continent, it positions Kenya at the forefront of healthcare innovation.

This technology guarantees that hospitals in Kenya and neighbouring countries can provide cancer treatment with greater precision and cost-effectiveness.

Precise treatment

The Cobalt 60 system is more than a technological leap; it is a forerunner of hope. It guarantees that patients across the region can receive the precise treatment they need without the burdens of high costs or extensive travel, it effectively eliminates medical tourism.

This initiative showcases Kenya‘s leadership in health technology and demonstrates our steadfast dedication to overcoming cancer.

Furthermore, the Cobalt 60 installation has significantly enhanced Kebs‘ dosimetry capabilities, establishing us as a regional hub for calibration and training. This not only reflects our unwavering commitment to healthcare excellence but also contributes to strengthening the region‘s ability to combat cancer effectively.

The initiative’s critical calibration role in radiotherapy highlights its importance. Ensuring each patient receives the correct radiation dose is vital for effective treatment and minimises the risk of adverse effects. This focus on precision is a key advancement in safeguarding patient health and improving outcomes.

As one of the select Secondary Standards Dosimetry Laboratories (SSDL) in Africa, Kebs is spearheading an initiative that transcends national boundaries. By attracting international clients to calibrate their radiotherapy equipment, we are cultivating global partnerships and fostering collaboration in healthcare.

The Cobalt 60 initiative serves as an instrumental bridge linking Kenya to the global healthcare community.

Through providing calibration and training services to neighbouring countries, we‘re not merely transferring technology; we‘re cultivating a worldwide network bound by shared expertise and mutual assistance. This positions Kenya as a central hub for healthcare innovation and international cooperation.

Moreover, the project‘s influence reaches beyond Kenya, establishing the Nation as a central hub for radiotherapy calibration in Africa.

This enhances our capacity to support neighbouring countries and solidifies Kenya‘s reputation as a centre of excellence in cancer research and treatment.

The introduction of the Cobalt 60 unit has expanded Kebs‘ team, creating jobs and fostering a culture of research and innovation in the ongoing fight against cancer.

As we stand at this transformative moment, the Cobalt 60 initiative symbolises a future where cancer is met with not only resilience but innovative solutions offering real hope for recovery and healing.

This marks a significant leap in our approach to treating cancer, powered by collaboration and innovation.

The path ahead is challenging, yet with initiatives like Cobalt 60, Kenya is shaping a future where cancer treatment is defined by precision, accessibility, and hope.

At Kebs, we are committed to ensuring our standards not only meet but surpass the needs of our people, now and for future generations.

In this fight against cancer, our strength lies in unity. Moving forward, let‘s continue to champion innovation, collaboration, and a deep-seated commitment to enhancing the lives of all Kenyans. Together, we can change the course of cancer treatment and illuminate the path to a healthier, brighter future for everyone.

- The writer is the managing director, Kenya Bureau of Standards