Government to set up four regional cancer treatment centers

NAIROBI, Kenya, The Ministry of Health plans to establish four regional cancer treatment centers in Kisii, Nakuru, Nyeri and Mombasa through the public private partnership approach to decongest the national referral hospitals and bring care closer to the public.

Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Health, Dr. Cleopa Mailu said the Government has enhanced diagnosis and treatment of cancer through the National Hospital Insurance Fund cover of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, CT scans, MRI and monthly clinic checkups, which has markedly reduced the waiting time and long queues at Kenyatta National Hospital.

The CS who was represented by the Director of Medical Services, Dr. Jackson Kioko at the launch of the National Cancer Control Strategy 2017 � 2022 on Friday disclosed that cancer ranks third as a cause of death after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases, with 40, 000 new cancer cases and over 27,000 deaths reported in the country annually.

According to Dr. Mailu over 60% of cancer patients in Kenya are below the age of 70 years with the risk of getting cancer before the age of 75 years standing at 14%, and the risk of dying from the disease at 12%.

The CS attributes the rising burden of cancer to four shared behavioral risk factors that are influenced by economic transition, rapid urbanization and adoption of unhealthy lifestyles such as tobacco use, consumption of unhealthy diets, insufficient physical activity, harmful use of alcohol and increased exposure to environmental carcinogens.

It is for this reason that the Ministry of Health has launched the National Cancer Control Strategy 2017 � 2022 which outlines comprehensive interventions to be undertaken by both the national and county governments in collaboration with other non-actors to reduce the incidence of cancer and improve the quality of life of those who develop the disease in Kenya, said Dr. Mailu.

The Strategic Plan, the CS explained has interventions aimed at reducing the number of people who develop and die of cancer, while ensuring better health outcomes and quality of life for those living with the disease.

The strategy also addresses interventions for cancer control ranging from a comprehensive national cancer screening program, improved access to medicines and essential technologies, palliative care and a supporting population based cancer registry network.

Source: Ministry of Health