KNH acquires modern equipment to boost diagnosis of diseases

Local residents being screened for diabetes and hypertension at Mukuru chief's camp in Nairob

Kenyatta National Hospital has acquired modern equipment to enhance diagnosis and management of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

The hospital has invested in new generation hematology analyzers for hematology laboratory and Flow Cytometry System, a new machine that will assist hematologists to diagnose and manage patients with hematological disorders.

Others KNH has also acquired the Sebia Hydrasys 2 Scan Focusing, which does protein electrophoresis and measures specific proteins in the blood, Immunoassay machine to handle special chemistries and HLA tissue typing results technology.

KNH Chief Executive Officer Evanson Kamuri said they are striving to improve  laboratory services to meet the expectations of clients and support universal healthcare provision.

Dr Kamuri explained that KNH, being a national referral and teaching facility, they have no option but to endeavor to remain a leader in provision of quality, affordable and accessible health care services in the region through innovation to overcome technological challenges.

“The acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment for the Department of Laboratory Medicine is a confirmation that the hospital is committed to universal healthcare. The technological advances are meant to enhance efficient and effective diagnosis of diseases,” he said.

Dr Rose Nyabanda, Director Diagnostics and Health Information, said the new technology is intended to assist the clinicians make speedy diagnosis and eventual management of patients medical conditions.

Dr Nyabanda was confident that the acquisition of new generation hematology analyzers for hematology laboratory is a game-changer in diagnostics.

The integrated system is composed of three equipment in one platform connected by a track module system and operated from a one computer. The two new generation hematology analyzers are capable of performing 400 samples per hour for the common complete blood count and white blood differentials (CBC+DIFF).

Dr Irene Inwani, the Senior Director Clinical Services, noted that KNH being the biggest hospital in the region and with high number of specialty clinics, blood transfusion is a common and key procedure in treatment and medical intervention.

“Many emergency cases reported or referred to the facility every day necessitates highly skilled staff and advanced technology. The hospital has upgraded its Blood Transfusion Unit by acquiring new machines,” said Dr Inwani.

She said 100 per cent of new admissions undergo blood typing to determine the blood group and blood antibody screening.

Papetua Asuko, In-charge, Blood Transfusion Unit Laboratory, explained that the sensitivity of blood transfusion calls for elimination of transfusion risks.

“Apart from testing of infectious diseases on donated blood for transfusion like hepatitis B, C, E, syphilis and HIV/Aids, the blood sample undergoes some other comprehensive and sensitivity confirmation before transfusion to a recipient (patient),” said Ms Asuko.

She noted that depending on the case of transfusion, at least six other tests are done on the donated blood sample to determine the safety of the blood to the recipients that includes blood group, rhesus, antibody screening, weak D testing (on RH-VE blood), IgG DAT, and cross match or compatibility testing.

“The complexity and sensitivity of a transfusion procedure allows no room for error or even delay from the blood donation room to the lab testing and to the final transfusion procedure. The newly acquired, fully automated blood bank equipment is the solution that the hospital needed,” said Asuko.

The In-charge, Blood Transfusion Unit Laboratory said the equipment is able to support at least 165 blood samples at ago and also allows the running of the aforementioned tests as single tests or a combined series of tests per sample.

“This increases the throughput as well as reducing the Turnaround Time (TAT) on both the routine and emergency samples,” she said.

Dr Germane Mackory, a hematologist, said the Flow Cytometry System is a new standard for cell analysis that has transformed the operations and relevance of hematology laboratory.

Dr Mackory explained that the Flow Cytometry (FC) is a technique used to detect and measure physical and chemical characteristics of a population of cells or particles where tens of thousands of cells can be quickly examined and a computer processes the data gathered.

He observed that flow-cytometer is often used in basic research, clinical practice, and clinical trials for cells, counting, sorting, determining is characteristics and function, which help in the diagnosis of health disorders such as blood cancers, and measuring genome size.

Some of the conditions that will be easy to diagnose and manage include; myeloid, chronic lymphocytic and hairy cell leukemias, chronic lymphoproliferative disorders, plasma cell disorders (PCD), paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, blast crisis, and follicular lymphoma.

Further, the hospital has scaled up its diagnostic services, by procuring Sebia Hydrasys 2 Scan Focusing, which does protein electrophoresis and measures specific proteins in the blood and immunoassay machine to handle special chemistries.

Dr Valerie Magutu, KNH/UoN pathologist indicated that the test separates proteins in the blood based on their electrical charge.

The protein electrophoresis test is often used to find abnormal substances called M proteins which can be a sign of a type of cancer called myeloma which affects white blood cells called plasma cells in the bone marrow.

“Protein electrophoresis can be used to help diagnose thyroid problems, diabetes, anemia, liver diseases, poor nutrition or inability to absorb nutrients, and certain autoimmune diseases,” said Dr Magutu.Emmanuel Kaunda, a Senior Medical Technologist, said that the semi-automated electrophoresis system test on serum, urine Protein, cholesterol and hemoglobin.”Cancer, being the nightmare that the world grapples with at the moment, requires modern and advanced technologies in detection and management,” said Mr Kaunda.

Dr Francis Ndiangui, the Head of Department, Laboratory Medicine, believes that the Immunohistochemistry ventana machine acquired by the hospital recently answers to the need for the foregoing.Dr Ndiangui, said Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a laboratory method that uses antibodies to check for certain antigens (markers) in a sample of tissue.

The antibodies are usually linked to an enzyme or a fluorescent dye. After the antibodies bind to the antigen in the tissue sample, the enzyme or dye is activated, and the antigen can then be seen under a microscope. This helps to diagnose cancer and differentiate between different types of cancer.

Gerald Chwani, Section In-charge Histology Laboratory, is confident that the acquisition of IHC Ventana machine is a great step for KNH as it endeavors to offer specialized treatment to clients.

“The machine has improved workflow efficiency through remote connectivity, fewer instrument touch points, software interface usability, on-instrument run management capabilities, electronic inventory management, quality assurance, useful reporting metrics, over 200 assays in key disease areas, including high medical value assays,” he said.

Clinical Chemistry headed by Peter Kiptim got a routine chemistry analyser with a throughput of 2000 specimen per hour. This has improved the efficiency and effectiveness of the facility.

Additionally, the laboratory acquired an immunoassay machine to handle special Chemistries.

Immunology laboratory under Godfrey Limiri also acquired state-of-the- art immunology equipment capable of handling specialised immunological assays.

“The microbiology Laboratory has been equipped to carry out microbiological tests efficiently and effectively, thus assisting clinicians to make clinical decisions on treatment and management of patients promptly,” said Mr Limiri.

Naomi Kariuki, the Section In-charge, said that the laboratory plays a great role in antimicrobial surveillance which informs government policy formulation on antibiotics.

And while the chronic Kidney diseases are on the increase, KNH experts have have worked on how to get quick HLA Tissue Typing results for patients on the queue.

“The technology was not available locally and patients depended on overseas laboratories. This increased the cost of testing and waiting time,” said Kilivwa Mukaya, Senior Principal Medical Laboratory Technologist.

Mr Mukaya said that the department has transformed immensely, and commitment to provision of quality- timely and affordable laboratory services in tandem with the government agenda of universal healthcare remain a priority.

He noted that KNH commenced HLA Tissue Typing in 2021, with the opening of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory.

The highly sophisticated and cost intensive laboratory is fully equipped to provide solution to both patient and clinicians needs.

Nelly Kiriinya who is the section In-charge confirms that the laboratory can provide results within 24 hours, which enhances effectiveness and efficiency of patients’ kidney transplant at KNH.

Alphonce Kioko, who underwent HLA tissue typing training in India, together with Kilivwa Mukaya, is optimistic that the laboratory will be up to standard in serving East Africa and beyond.

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