“We are making efforts with the contractor company from Argentina, with 45 years of experience in nuclear issues. We want to give this gift in September to the people of Santa Cruz“, said Hortensia Jiménez, executive director of the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN), about the delivery of a nuclear medicine center in the anniversary month of Santa Cruz.
Jiménez reported that last Thursday The two linear accelerators and high dose rate brachytherapy arrived in the country, equipment with which the entire radiotherapy area would be covered. “We’ve been told they’ve finished installing the first accelerator and this coming week will be the second accelerator,” she said.
The representative said that the advance of the center exceeds 82%, that the civil infrastructure has already been completed and that the first equipment has been received.
As for the human team, he explained that they are expected to return, since they are all being trained in Argentina. “We are waiting for a group that has already finished their specialty in nuclear medicine in Argentina; another group is finishing technical training in radiotherapy and nuclear medicine, etc. A medical physicist who is a world reference in the nuclear area is also arriving,” He said.
Jiménez reported that the Santa Cruz center will have the same conditions and resolutions as the El Alto center, which It has been in operation for a month and a half, and in that period it has already treated 1,021 patients. Most for clinical oncology.
“In Santa Cruz we have planned a capacity of 100 to 120 patientsIf we talk about areas, in nuclear medicine we have a capacity of 15 patients/day. If we go to the treatment area, each accelerator has a capacity of 25 patients/day; that is, 50 between them. High dose rate brachytherapy, 8 patients, as it is like an intervention; and finally, in chemotherapy, 20 patients per day, but we also have a clinical oncology area. That gives us a figure of 20 patients per day,” he detailed.
Nuclear medicine is a technique that generally uses quite advanced tomographs, radiopharmaceuticals for early detection of cancer. Jiménez announced that in La Paz, in Achumani, another nuclear medicine center will also be implemented, as part of a network, and that about the other departments, they are definitions that will be given in the Ministry of Health.
He acknowledged that at the moment the service is assistance, but it is expected that in the future help the training of professionals in the area of nuclear medicine and research. Also, he said that it is already testing the national manufacture of radiopharmaceuticalsand that if all goes well, in July or August there will be final results.
Finally, he clarified that in order to attend to patients must be registered with SUS and be referred by second and third level centers, and in some cases by first level. However, in the case of the El Alto center, he acknowledged that it has already received patients from the private sector, 9% of the cases attended, and reported that agreements are already being worked on with the social security funds.