CANCER TREATMENT in the country is expected to improve further, thanks to a newly upgraded pathology laboratory in Butaro Hospital in Burera District.
The modern laboratory, inaugurated on Thursday, has four machines; the rapid tissue processor, autostainer, embedding machine, and slide scanner, all valued at $700,000 (about Rwf560 million).
The equipment was donated by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
According to Dr Tharicisse Mpunga, the medical director at Butaro Hospital, they have been constrained with few materials, most of which were manual.
He said the new laboratory will significantly boost the way the hospital treats people by increasing the number of patients tested and provide results as early as possible.
“We are happy we have got modern automated machines that use latest technologies, there are the first in the country and in the region and we expect them to boost both quality and quantity in service delivery,” said Mpunga.
He said, with the new equipment, the hospital is able to conduct 1,500 biopsy tests per day against only 150 they would conduct in a whole month.
With new laboratory, a patient’s results from the tests would take between two and three days unlike before when it could take a month or so to return the results.
Officials also said some exams from cancer tests could be sent to the US and this delayed the process and affected treatment process in general.
Mpunga said the hospital is now ready to treat as many patients as they can from across the country and others from the region.
However, he said the district finds it hard to pay extra money for internet as they pay $4000 per month to buy internet and urged concerned institutions to help them to extend high speed internet to the hospital.
The equipment supplied by Sakula Finitek, a Dutch company, are efficient and will boost both quality and quantity of service delivery, officials said.
“It is a great day for healthcare today; we have the potential of taking care of patients by taking better diagnosis, faster diagnosis and making sure doctors can do better treatment for the patients,” said Irmen Werkhoven, the company’s managing director.
The machines will be maintained by the supplier but the hospital and the Ministry of Health will look at ways to own up the process, according to district officials.
It costs about $24,000 (about Rwf20 million) to maintain the equipment annually.
Cancer patients welcomed the new laboratory saying it would help other patients to have their disease diagnosed early thus easing the treatment process.
“It took me three weeks to know that I had cancer and I had worries before the exams were available, I think it would take shorter time to detect if one has cancer,” said Juditte Umuhoza, who is receiving treatment for cervical cancer at Butaro Hospital.