The First Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Kenya

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Nairobi. 18, October. 2022 Mareeg.com-Chief Medical Director at The Nairobi West Hospital, Professor Andrew Kanyi Gachii.
By Bernard Mulwa
Kenya is boasting to launch the first bone marrow transplant unit that provides a broad range of integrated and patient-centric services for the diagnosis and management of blood disorders in adults and children, including cancer of the blood.
The Chief medical director at the Nairobi West hospital, Professor Andrew Kanyi Gachii, said the launch of this landmark in the history of Kenya at the Nairobi West hospital is the first health care to start bone marrow transplant “the need is great for the treatment and the importance of access to quality, affordable specialized healthcare in Kenya has been a major pain point for most patients who have to travel abroad for advanced medical procedures like bone marrow transplant”, in his remarks, Professor Andrew Kanyi Gachii further observed that an effective bone marrow transplant unit backed by world leading specialists could make Kenya a medical tourism destination.
The bone marrow transplant unit is an integral part of the Nairobi hospital, one of Kenya’s leading level 6B multidisciplinary hospitals. The hospital aim to provide easy access to bone marrow transplants as a possible cure for patients with complex blood disorders.
The cost of treatment of bone marrow at the Nairobi West, Professor Andrew said will depend on an individual but it ranges between 25,000-35,000 US Dollars, he said however this is low compared to patients how are doing it outside Kenya like in India and Europe which stood at between 40,000-50,000 US Dollars.
The Chief medical director at the Nairobi West hospital, Professor Andrew Kanyi Gachii, also said the Nairobi West hospital is in advance discussions with National Health Insurance Fund, NHIF and will collaborate with other insurance companies to help patients mitigate the cost.
Professor Andrew Kanyi Gachii said the Nairobi West hospital carried its first bone marrow transplant procedure to a 55 years female patient on 10th of October 2022 who was suffering from myeloma and it took a maximum of between 2-3 hours to successfully complete the procedure and the patient will be out in 3 days from today.
He said the process of bone marrow transplant is done like blood transfusion and it does not involve removing of body organs, “there are risks during this process but at the hands of experts, the risks are very minimal, “Nairobi hospital is working in collaboration with experts from India however, we are more focusing on training our own specialists at Nairobi West” he said, Nairobi West hospital also aim to be the leading bone marrow transplant unit not only in East Africa, but across Africa.
At the same time, the head of bone marrow transplant unit at the Nairobi West hospital, Dr. Guarav Dixit said that in some instances, bone marrow transplants offers the only hope of cure in treating blood cancers like Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia, that would otherwise be difficult to treat with conventional chemotherapy alone. It is usually a safe procedure for patients with sickle cell disease, if done at a young age.
Other emerging indications that can be treated with bone marrow transplants include Multiple Sclerosis and paediatric immunodeficiencies.
It is important to note that this therapy is evidenced-based across the globe and now readily available in Kenya to all who may need it in a world class facility that can rival many in the west.

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