By PSCU/Beth Nyaga
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Friday announced that the global organization has secured some funding from America to enable Kenya acquire vital equipment needed to fight cancer.
The subsidized machines will be acquired through a cost-sharing arrangement between IAEA and Kenya and are expected to go a long way in the management of various forms of the disease including cervical, breast and prostrate cancer.
IAEA Director General Mr Yukiya Amano said the international atomic energy watchdog is also helping Kenya develop a national plan to combat cancer which is on the increase in many countries in Africa.
The IAEA boss made the remarks when he paid a courtesy call on the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.
He was accompanied by IAEA’s Director for Africa, Professor Shaukat Abdulrazak and Health Principal Secretary Dr. Nicholas Muraguri.
Dr Amano said Kenya should be a hub for cancer management in Africa in all its facets including diagnosis, radio-therapy, chemotherapy and surgery when needed.
“Kenya has a bigger responsibility not only for Africa but globally”, said Mr Amano adding that it was saddening that 28 countries in Africa have no equipment to treat the killer disease.
He also regretted that many cancer cases in the continent are reported when it is too late for any meaningful therapy to take place and only palliative care can be given to such victims before they die.
Mr Amano however said there is hope in Africa because a new momentum is picking up to acquire equipment needed to manage cancer in the continent.
“There is new momentum of progress in Africa but much more needs to be done”.
Dr, Amano said IAEA advocates for peace and development adding that health of the people is crucial to development. He said health issues are part of that development.
The IAEA boss said there is need to invest more in nuclear-driven technology which has the capacity to detect diseases such as cancer, Ebola and Zika within a few days.
He said some cases of Zika had already been detected in Africa, but had been detected early through advanced technology.
Dr Amano said the TICAD conference which opens in Nairobi tomorrow provides greatest opportunity for African leaders to discuss the challenges of cancer in the continent and what assistance they can request from developed countries including Japan.
“TICAD is a great opportunity to enhance co-operation between countries. Co-operation between countries and donors is very much needed”, said Dr Amano who hailed Kenya as a great champion of the south-south co-operation.
The First Lady, known as a great champion of the war against cancer within the Forum of African First Ladies said Kenya is ready to welcome all the co-operation and assistance it can get to fight cancer.
Dr Muraguri gave a detailed account of the efforts and investments made by Kenya to combat cancer including equipping Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi referral hospital in Eldoret with modern equipment . Many other facilties in the counties are also being equipped said the PS.
He said Sh 200 million had been allocated to manage cancer in the current financial year adding that the country is making progress to halt the disease through screening and early diagnosis.
The PS said services accruing from the huge investment that Kenya is making in the health sector are also open to other counties.