Tanzania has joined Kenya in setting up nuclear cardiology services for diagnosing and treating complications related to heart conditions.
Last week, the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) in Dar es Salaam started the services. The Department of Radiology at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya also offers these services.
“This technology has a number of advantages and I see patients within and from neighbouring countries benefiting from the newly introduced services at ORCI,” said ORCI executive director Dr Julius Mwaiselage.
A expert in nuclear medicine, Dr Tausi Maftah, said each of the two nuclear cardiology machines at ORCI has the capacity to serve at least 20 patients per day.
Nuclear medicine is slowly gaining momentum: For example, this year the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) helped Uganda restart a vital radiotherapy services machine and nuclear cardiology machine that has not started operating as yet, following the breakdown of the only radiotherapy machine in 2016 that was serving over 34 million people.
According to a report by the Uganda Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases are second to infectious diseases in causing death in Africa, accounting to 11 per cent of the total.
In 2012, about 18 million people died from cardiovascular diseases representing 31 per cent of all global deaths.
Dr Julius Mwaiselage said they are working with the IAEA with support from Prof Raffaele Gibbini, head of nuclear medicine at the University of Brescia in Italy.