The inaugural ceremony of the National Cancer Summit was held Thursday at the Safari Park Hotel and Casino in Nairobi.
The event organized by the National Cancer Institute of Kenya (NCI), marked the beginning of an all-hands-on-deck initiative in the fight against cancer in the country.
Cancer is among the leading causes of death in Kenya, with 42,000 cases emerging annually and 27,000 fatalities. This is a 14% increase in diagnosis from 2012, according to research conducted in 2020. Two in every three people are diagnosed with cancer.
The main aim of this event was to raise awareness of cancer, its causes, detection, treatment, and eventual prevention. Among the reasons why cancer causes so many fatalities in the country, is the lack of early detection.
Facilities do not have the proper technology and doctors enough know how to detect symptoms as a sign of something bigger.
Cervical cancer is the leading type of cancer followed by breast, prostate, esophageal, and colorectal. Cervical cancer is believed to be prevented by the HPV vaccine.
Among the dignitaries present were; Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha who was the chief guest, US ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman, Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o and Tharaka Nithi governor, Muthomi Njuki, who also launched the Status of Cancer in Kenya Report.
This three-day summit is a collaboration of the national and county governments. Representing the board of governors, Anyang Nyong’o encouraged doctors to focus on other counties apart from the major cities and urged counties to have blood banks.
“I call upon the media to create awareness on cancer. People listen to you.” Urged Health CS.
Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital, Johnson and Johnson, and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) were among the sponsors of the event, each rolling out ways to improve screening, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.
This launch was held a few days ahead of World cancer commemoration day that will be on Saturday in Garissa.
The health CS also announced that NHIF will change to the National Health Social And Insurance Fund by 1st July to make sure that every Kenyan will have access to healthcare.
BY NKATHA WAINAINA