Niblett: Cobalt machine needs help

The National Department of health needs to pay attention to the requests from the Cancer Treatment Centre for a new cobalt source for the cobalt cancer machine.

The cobalt source has to be procured every 4 years however the facility is still using the source from 7 years ago.

Head of Cancer Unit Oncologist, Dr John Niblett says the cobalt source inside the machine is getting weak.

He says they started using the machine in 2009 and in 2012 they requested funding from the government through health department and are yet to receive any positive response.

Niblett says the department is still looking for funds.

This means the number of patients they treat every day will decrease.

Niblett says they used to treat 20 – 30 cancer patients everyday but now they can only treat between 10 – 20 patients.

 He said a simulator they use to work with the Cobalt machine broke down last year and they have since been waiting for an engineer from America.

Cobalt therapy is the medical use of gamma rays from the radioisotope cobalt-60 to treat conditions such as cancer.

Beginning in the 1950s cobalt-60 was widely used in external beam radiotherapy (teletherapy) machines, which produced a beam of gamma rays which was directed into the patient's body to kill tumor tissue.

The health department has been reached for comments. 

Joy Kisselpar