Home International News Africa AstraZeneca, partners launch innovatory cancer care programme in Kenya

AstraZeneca, partners launch innovatory cancer care programme in Kenya

David Fredrickson, Executive Vice President, Oncology Business Unit, AstraZeneca (Left), Dr Khomotso Mashilane, Medical Director: African Cluster at AstraZeneca and Deepak Arora, Country President, Africa Cluster, AstraZeneca. PHOTO/COURTESY

Global science-led biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has launched the Cancer Care Africa programme, a first-of-its-kind, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Kenya Society of Hematology and Oncology (KESHO), Axios, the National Cancer Institute of Kenya (NCI), and other partners to improve cancer care in Kenya.

The launch comes at a time when cancer is listed as a major public health concern in Kenya and across Africa. Figures from the World Health Organization show, for instance, that there were 44,726 cancer cases and 29,317 cancer deaths in Kenya in 2022 alone. Today, cancer is now ranked the third leading cause of death in Kenya behind infectious diseases and cardiovascular NCDs, and the fifth in Africa. Despite its growing prevalence and mortality, quality cancer care remains a challenge for many.

The initiative aims at equitably improving cancer care access and outcomes across the patient care pathway, from diagnosis through to treatment.

Speaking during the event held at Serena Hotel in Nairobi Tuesday evening, Health Cabinet Secretary Nakhumicha S. Wafula described the launch as a significant step towards optimizing cancer care.

“This collaborative initiative has the potential to significantly improve access to diagnosis, treatment, and care, ultimately saving lives and improving the well-being of Kenyans impacted by this disease, as well as their families and communities.” She said

The CS noted that the Government of Kenya, besides focusing on cancer diagnosis, is keen on ensuring care and treatment are affordable to families.

“With the coming into place of the Social Health Authority (SHA), Kenyans will get even greater relief on spending as SHA will take care of the huge costs of cancer treatment for all,” averred Nakhumicha

Dave Fredrickson, Executive Vice-President, Oncology Business Unit, AstraZeneca said with an increasing number of patients being diagnosed with cancer in Kenya and across Africa, joint action to improve patient outcomes and safeguard health care systems for the future has never been more important.

“The Cancer Care Africa programme will support early detection, increase timely diagnosis, and improve access to treatment options for patients across Kenya.”  He said

Cancer Care Africa is part of Accelerating Change Together (ACT) for Cancer Care, a global, AstraZeneca-led effort to revolutionize the way cancer is diagnosed and treated to drive equitable improvement in patient outcomes. Cancer Care Africa has already donated ultrasound biopsy machines to seven hospitals across Kenya to enhance early prostate cancer diagnosis, as well as donating the country’s first biomarker testing machine for Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) mutations to Aga Khan University Hospital. CCA is committed to strengthening healthcare systems across Africa in partnership with local cancercare experts.

Others who attended the launch include; – Dr. Naphtali Busakhala, Chair, Kenya Society for Hematology and Oncology (KESHO);  Dr. Pelin Incesu, Area Vice President for Middle East and Africa; Dr. Khomotso Mashilane, Medical Director, African Cluster at AstraZeneca; and Deepak Arora, Country President, Africa Cluster, AstraZeneca among others.

Ruth Were
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