ENABLES TELECONFERENCING

KNH opens centre to aid in Covid-19 detection

The technology used was first developed in Wuhan, China, and has been successfully used to detect infection and monitor patients.

In Summary

• Doctors in the country will now be able to interact and share information with their counterparts in 37 counties and those across the borders.

• Kenya becomes the first in the region and the second globally to adopt the technology.

Kenyatta National Hospital has opened a centre to aid in remote diagnosis and treatment.

The Computed Tomography (CT) Scan centre, launched by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe on Sunday, is expected to go a long way in helping the country in detecting coronavirus cases. It has been interfaced with Artificial Intelligence software called the GoldenEye for Covid-19 detection.

Doctors in the country will now be able to interact and share information with their counterparts in 37 counties and those across the borders through teleconferencing on a 24-hour basis. Kenya becomes the first in the region and the second globally to adopt the technology.

The technology was first developed in Wuhan, China, and has been successfully used to detect infection and monitor Covid-19 patients. Following concerns over the safety of patients and medical staff on the risks of exposure to ionising radiation, the government sought to assure patients that the new CT scan machines are free from exposure to radiation.  The Chinese Embassy in Kenya and Neosoft offered the software for free.

The centre has handled 50 scan cases and majorly provides imaging diagnostics of different ailments, routine checks, emergencies and teaching.

"Very soon we are going to have major operations being done in Kenya by our own doctors rather than taking patients overseas," Kagwe said.

"Instead of sending radiologists to different counties, we can have CT scans interpreted here."

Radiologists at the KNH national data centre will work with the counties in interpreting CT and MRI images.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe goes through an interactive session with doctors from different countries at KNH on March 22, 2020.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe goes through an interactive session with doctors from different countries at KNH on March 22, 2020.
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

The medical teleconferencing facility and Artificial intelligent teleradiology centre will act as a hub for diagnosis and reporting of images, through a server or internet connectivity.

It has the capacity to carry out teleconferences among 37 counties in Kenya and other countries such as China, Egypt and the UK (London).

"By the installation of this AI system, KNH becomes the pioneers in the diagnosis of viral pneumonia-related infections like the Covid-19 infections, and tracking treatment cases in confirmed cases, on the continent," CEO Evanson Kamuri said.

Among the state-of-the-art machines fitted are automatic generator as a power backup, an uninterruptible power to keep running in case of a power outage, cloud imaging devices, laser and thermal printers, CCTV and thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) to measure the radiation levels patients and medics are exposed to.

“The imaging findings of viral pneumonia are diverse and overlap with those of other non-viral infections and inflammatory conditions. However, identification of the underlying viral pathogens may not always be easy, but that will be a thing of the past moving forward,” Kamuri said.

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

Local and foreign medical experts have been holding a teleconference with professors and doctors from Wuhan and Beijing in China; Neusoft Medical Systems Co. Paris in France, and the Military Hospital in Egypt in conjunction with KNH regarding Covid-19 and medical experiences on how to combat the scourge.

"Patients from remote parts of the country will also be able to get their CT scans accessed from Nairobi for consultation and diagnostics, and the results shared back within minutes, a great achievement in the countries medical technological advances," Kamuri said.