A bone scan is a crucial machine as I came to learn in a symposium dubbed ‘bridging the gap in metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer’ that delved deep into prostate cancer treatment and challenges practitioners faced in combating the disease.
In a country where we are losing a majority of our people to cancer, one would expect that the machinery required would be availed but No, not in Kenya.
Kenya seems so ready to fight Ebola that has never seen the light of day and yet incapable of providing the machinery to ensure early diagnosis of cancer that is already in the Country and claiming its population regardless of age, tribe or social status.
The need to create awareness on cancer screening has been pushed for blindly and in hypocrisy as the government continually urges its citizens to go for screening.
What our Government fails to tell its citizens is that the National insurance fund that was pushed down the throats of the taxpayers cannot cover their diagnostic procedures and only comes in when the patient is actually confirmed of having cancer which is mostly at an extreme stage when very little can be done.
Kenya, as big as it is a Country, with its almost 2000 political leaders, driving luxurious cars and foreign trips at their own leisure not to forget their tendency to always seek medical care abroad, has no bone scanner in any of its public hospitals, not even in its national referral hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
The only bone scanner in Kenyan public facility was in KNH. Three years ago, the bone scanner at KNH broke down as it was overwhelmed by demand. It was crucial as it was more affordable compared to the currently only-functional bone scanner in Kenya at the Agha Khan hospital.
A scan by the KNH bone scanner used to cost patients 9000 shillings while a scan at the Agha Khan cost the same patient 35,000 shillings. Currently, patients have to visit Agha Khan for the same price of 35,000 shillings or do without the scan.
Bone scanners are actually more crucial than the MRI machines according to practitioners at the forum. Practitioners also advised on the importance of following up with the practitioners before a patient results to go to India without an informed referral from the Doctor.