Nairobi West Hospital Conducts First Ever Local Bone Marrow Transplant
“Our aim is also to be the leading Bone Marrow Transplant unit not only in East Africa, but across Africa”
The first ever successful bone marrow transplant in Kenya has been conducted at the Nairobi West hospital to a female patient ailing from multiple myeloma- a type of blood cancer.
Speaking at the hospital during the product launch, The hospital’s Chief Medical Director Professor Andrew Gachi described the procedure as a major milestone in medicine in the country. He added that most patients with blood disorders and cancers have in the past had to travel abroad to seek the highly specialized treatment.
Speaking to press at the facility, Prof. Gachi said that the bone marrow transplant to the patient identified as Margret aged 55 years was conducted at the facility by a team of specialists, led by Dr. Guarav Dixit, a specialist in bone marrow transplant and blood cancers.
“This is a great milestone in the medical history of this country. We have successfully transplanted bone marrow to a patient who had multiple myeloma, and we expect to discharge her in two days,” stated Prof. Gachi
The CMD added that Nairobi West Hospitall is open to collaborations and willl work with other institutions to conduct training with their internationally recognized transplant specialists, as part of measures to provide easy access to bone marrow transplants as a possible cure for patients with complex blood disorders locally.
“Our aim is also to be the leading Bone Marrow Transplant unit not only in East Africa, but across Africa,” the CMD added.
A specialist from the New Delhi cancer centre explained that the process conducted on the first patient at the Nairobi West facility is known as autogorous which involves harvesting healthy cells from the patient, destroying the patient’s abnormal or damaged cells and then re-injecting the healthy cells to the patient.
Dr Dixit noted that the Bone Marrow Treatment is a very crucial treatment procedure , because “in some instances, it offers the only hope of cure in treating blood cancers like Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), that would otherwise be difficult to treat with conventional chemotherapy alone’.
He added that Bone Marrow Transplant can also be used to treat Multiple Sclerosis and pediatric immunodeficiencies, and that it’s a safe procedure for patients with sickle cell disease if done at a young age.
“It is important to note that this therapy is evidence based across the globe, and now readily available in Kenya to all who may need it in a world class facility,” he stated.
Noting that the Bone Marrow Transplant process is highly specialized and delicate, Dr Gachi said that the treatment will cost between 25,000 and 35,000 dollars.
He however said this will be certainly lower than going outside the country for the same.
The cancer burden has been rising globally, exerting significant strain on populations and health systems at all income levels. Data from the National Cancer Institute of Kenya shows that In Kenya, cancer is the 3rd leading cause of death after infectious and cardiovascular diseases.
The International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) GLOBOCAN report for 2018 estimated 47,887 new cases of cancer annually with a mortality of 32,987.