The Ministry of Health plans to improve capacity for cancer treatment and palliative services by providing infrastructure, equipment and commodities countrywide.
Speaking in Nakuru at a National Cancer Control Strategy (NCCS) 2017-2022 Regional Dissemination workshop for the Rift region supported by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the Head of the National Cancer Control Program at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Anne Ng’ang’a said the Ministry, is rolling out workshops countrywide to sensitise County Health Management teams and to seek their partnership in halting and reversing the cancer burden in Kenya.
Cancer is one of the major non-communicable diseases in Kenya and ranks third as a cause of death after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
It is estimated that there are 40,000 new cases annually and approximately 28,000 cancer related deaths every year.
More than 70% of cancer cases are diagnosed at late stage when treatment outcomes are poor and palliative care is usually the only management amenable.
As part of the Government’s commitment to fast track the national rollout of the National Cancer Control Strategy 2017-2022, plans are now underway to improve the infrastructural capacity of Kenyatta National Hospital and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital to provide cancer care.
To support the two tertiary centres, the Government, Dr Ng’ang’a said is also undertaking capacity enhancement efforts at the four comprehensive regional cancer treatment centers in Kisii, Nakuru, Nyeri and Mombasa.
As outlined in the National Cancer Control Strategy (NCCS) 2017-2022, Dr. Ng’ang’a further added that the four comprehensive regional cancer treatment and the two tertiary referral centers will be complemented by a network of County/Sub-County hospitals which will begin by offering chemotherapy and refer complicated cases to the regional cancer treatment centers.
“The government is committed to reducing the morbidity and mortality from cancers, and to improve the quality of life for patients undergoing cancer treatment,” Dr. Ng’ang’a assured adding that, “besides increasing the number of facilities providing comprehensive cancer services, the Cancer Control strategy also advocates for the strengthening of partnerships to streamline supply chain systems that ensure availability and accessibility of quality, safe and effective medical products and technologies for screening, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of cancer.
The National Cancer Control Strategy (NCCS) 2017-2022, is a framework geared at reducing cancer incidence, morbidity, mortality, while increasing survival rates in Kenya through access to population based primary prevention, early detection, quality diagnostics, treatment and palliative care services by the year 2022.
While thanking Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and a specialist oncology pharmaceutical solutions provider for their support, Dr. Ng’ang’a said this support will complement ongoing governmental efforts to raise further awareness on the strategy countrywide.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ Country Manager, Mr. Vittorio Sereni reiterated the firm’s support for awareness and capacity building initiatives geared at facilitating a speedy adoption of the National Cancer Control Strategy (NCCS) 2017-2022 by various stakeholders.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals is part of Johnson & Johnson PLC which is the biggest diversified healthcare company in the world.
The company envisions a world where cancer is a preventable, chronic or curable disease and is focused on developing solutions that prolong and improve patient lives to get there.
“We were keen to support the dissemination at county level of the National Cancer Control Strategy; we believe that the knowledge sharing and discussion will help align priorities and focus resources, strengthening cancer care where it is providing the highest value.’’ said Mr. Sereni.
To ensure a coordinated response to cancer control in Kenya, the National Cancer Control Strategy (NCCS) 2017-2022 was developed to act as a framework to guide all stakeholders supporting cancer control in Kenya.
The strategy addresses the whole cancer ecosystem from prevention to survivorship and has 5 pillars namely: 1) Prevention, Early Detection and Screening, 2) Diagnosis, Registration and Surveillance, 3) Treatment, Palliative Care and Survivorship, 4) Coordination, Partnership and Financing and 5) Monitoring, Evaluation and Research.