The Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) has started conducting bone marrow transplantation ahead of other hospitals in East Africa.
The medical treatment has been a piercing issue for a while as patients had to be sent abroad for treatment at a higher cost sometimes not able to attain.
Last month Benjamin Mkapa Hospital in Dodoma announced that it was in the process of commencing bone marrow transplants and In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) for women to cut down on costs of sending patients abroad for such treatments but MNH went ahead and become the first country in East to offer such treatment.
So far MNH has successfully conducted the procedure on five patients and five others are on the waiting list.
“It was a long process that involved different health experts from different departments to make sure the bone marrow transplant is successful and well taken care of. We worked as a team and we are happy for the step we made as a nation,” said Dr. Stella Rwezaura, Head of Hematology Unit and a hematologist at MNH.
According to the hospital’s Executive Director, Prof. Lawrence Museru, the procedure costs Tsh 70 million, Tsh 180 million less than the price of a patient getting the same treatment in India.
There are 200 patients in need of Bone marrow transplants in a year, however, in a year MNH will only be able to help 48 patients.
The government issued 6.5 billion last year in support of the establishment of bone marrow transplant services in the country. The money was also used to construct a Centre of Excellence for transplants and to train experts.
Bone marrow transplant is used to treat Leukemia, Cancer, Sickle cell anemia, and blood and immune system diseases affecting bone marrow.
Other African countries offering bone marrow transplants include; Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tunisia.