Kagwe unveils high-tech CT Scan centre at KNH in coronavirus fight

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 14:55 | By
The new technology can enable doctors from all over the world to read the scans

In a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus, the government has launched a Computed Tomography (CT) Scan center interfaced with an artificial intelligence software dubbed Golden Eye used to detect the deadly virus.

The centre is located at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

The technology which is the first of its kind in Africa makes Kenya the second country globally to embrace the technology, first developed in Wuhan city, China.

The technology has been successfully used to detect and help in monitoring progress of Covid-19 patients.

In Wuhan City, the epicenter of COVID-19, the technology aided in early detection of the virus thus yielding positive and promising results.

Speaking during the launch of the initiative on Sunday, March 20, Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe termed the technology as a game changer in Kenya’s healthcare system.

According to CS Kagwe, the platform will enable patients and healthcare providers both local and abroad to interact with health experts at KNH through video conferencing.

The technology is also connected to Moi Teaching and Referral hospital (MTRH), the country’s second referral hospital in addition to China’s Wuhan and Beijing cities, France, Egypt and at least 37 Kenyan counties.

Some of the hospitals with already operational CT centers include King Fahad Hospital in Lamu County, Kakamega County Referral Hospital, Thika Level Five Hospital, Iten County Referral Hospital (Elgeyo Marakwet County), Narok County Referral Hospital and Voi Level Five Hospital (Taita Taveta County).

The Chinese Embassy in Kenya and Neosoft offered the software solution for free.

“Through this technology we have been able to witness realities , that instead of sending a radiologist to every county across the country, in the 37 counties , for instance we are communicating CT scans in those counties can be interpreted at this national centre by two or three radiologists,” CS Kagwe told journalists on Sunday.

“You can see the efficiency and gains in terms of human capital, we can achieve through use of technology,” he said.

Going forward, the CS said the country’s healthcare will be premised on technology, insisting that the launch of the facility was such example.

While doing the demo on March 22, the CS, Chinese officials, other government officials and the media, witnessed how the CT scans can be read by at least 10 radiologists across the world with report and images being interpreted real time.

“Very quickly, we are going to have major operations being done in Kenya by local doctors with others in Wuhan China, Paris, UK and US,” the CS disclosed.

This, he said, will reduce trouble for Kenyans who have been travelling abroad for treatment.

“We will bring the doctors to the screens instead of taking the patient to overseas, this is what technology can do for us,” he held.

On his part, KNH Chairman Board of management Eng. Nicholas Gumbo said the technology will enabled healthcare workers to share information real time.

With the launch, Gumbo held that as a national referral hospital it goes to demonstrate that nothing is being left to chance in combating and defeating the COVID-19.

Should it be a success, Kenya would be the first country in Africa to have put all it’s available resources in an effort to curb global scourge and supplement other pioneer efforts been made by the government.

The CT Scan center will provide imaging diagnostics of various medical ailments, routine checks, emergencies and teaching.

The KNH national data center will serve as a center of excellence housing CT machines and other supportive equipment including radiologists interfaced with counties in interpreting TC and MRI images.

So far, the government has installed CT scan machines in close to twenty counties, lifting the heavy burden of treatment off the shoulders of poor families under one of the Big Four delivery pillars of the Universal Health Coverage.

Among the state of the art machines fitted are automatic generator as power back-up, an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), a device that allows the equipment to keep running in case of power outage, cloud imaging devices, laser and thermal printers, CCTV and thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) to measure radiation levels both patients and medics have been exposed to.

On concerns over the safety of patients and medical staff on the risks of exposure to radiation, the government has assured patients that the new CT scan machines are free from exposure to radiation.

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