The Ministry of Health has embarked on an ambitious country wide campaign to build capacity on cancer treatment and palliative services in public health facilities.
Head of the National Cancer Control Programme at the Ministry of Health headquarters Dr. Anne Ng’ang’a said the resultant knowledge was essential for easier management of the disease.
She said the ministry hopes to improve cancer management by providing requisite infrastructure and equipment countrywide as a way of reducing the increasing numbers of new cancer cases.
Ng’ang’a was speaking at a National Cancer Control Strategy (NCCS) 2017-2022 Regional Dissemination workshop for the Rift region in Nakuru town.
She added that the Ministry will hold workshops to sensitise the County Health Management teams and seek their partnership in halting and reversing the cancer burden in the country.
Health records show cancer as one of the major non-communicable diseases nationally and ranks third as a cause of death after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
It is estimated that 40,000 new cases of the disease emerge annually leading to approximately 28, 000 related deaths.
“More than 70 percent of cancer cases are diagnosed at late stages when treatment outcomes are poor and palliative care is usually the only management amenable,” Ng’ang’a regretted.
She said that plans were underway to improve the infrastructural capacity of Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) to provide cancer care as part of the Government’s commitment to fast track the NCCS 2017/2022.
Dr. Ng’ang’a said the government was also undertaking capacity enhancement at the four comprehensive regional cancer treatment centres in Kisii, Nakuru, Nyeri and Mombasa in a bid to lower the burden on KNH and MTRH.
She added that the treatment centres and the referral hospitals would be complemented by a network of County and Sub-County hospitals which will be facilitated to undertake chemotherapy while referring complicated cases to the regional treatment centres.
“The government is committed to reducing the morbidity and mortality from cancers, and to improve the quality of life for patients undergoing cancer treatment, besides increasing the number of facilities providing comprehensive cancer services, the strategy is also advocating for strengthening of partnerships to streamline supply chain systems ” Dr. Ng’ang’a added.
“This is meant to ensure availability and accessibility of quality, safe and effective medical products and technologies for screening, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of cancer,” she explained.
Ng’ang’a hailed Janssen Pharmaceuticals Company on its support in dealing with the spread of the various types of cancer.
She added that the support compliments the on-going governmental efforts to raise awareness on the strategy countrywide.
Jansenn Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that specialises in provision of oncology pharmaceutical solutions.