cancerThis week, Uganda will airlift 400 cancer patients to Nairobi for treatment. This is after their only radiotherapy machine broke down.

More than 16,000 other patients who need radiotherapy care will be forced to take strong painkillers like morphine.

The 400 Ugandans will be taken care of at the Aga Khan hospital.

On face value, it may seem Kenya’s cancer treatment infrastructure is much more developed than our brothers, but the situation is no better here.

Cases of machine breakdown at Kenyatta National Hospital are more frequent than we would hope for. KNH offers the only affordable treatment at Sh500 per session. Private hospitals charge upwards of Sh10,000 per session.

A radiation machine is not that expensive. A single unit costs between Sh200 and 300 million. It is therefore a shame that Uganda has 1 and Kenya has just a few.

Last year it was reported that Nigeria, a nation of 170 million people, had only 7 machines, of which 5 were faulty. So you can see it’s an Africa-wide problem.

What do you think? Is there hope for cancer patients? Will they continue seeking treatment in India? Do you see our governments sparing a few billions to buy adequate machines?

Is East Africa’s health system screwed? Take a vote.