REPUBLIC OF KENYA

Boost for cancer war as health ministry establishes oncology training course

Nairobi, Monday November 25, 2019 – The Ministry of Health has prioritized oncology training to reduce the growing cancer burden.
The Ministry is now facilitating the training of officers in radiation oncology and establishment a local 4 – year Master of Medicine programme in Radiation Oncology at the University of Nairobi through secondment of two radiation oncologists to assist in starting the program  which commenced in October 2019 with enrollment of eight students.
The revelations were made by the Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki in a speech read by Dr. Laban Thiga, Head of Healthcare Services at the Ministry of Health during the official launch of the Africa Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA) and the African Radiation Oncology Group (AFROG) conferences at the Nairobi Hospital today.
The CS noted that additional training capacity will be created as the Ministry works closely with Kenyatta National Hospital and the Technical University of Kenya to initiate a local training program in medical physics at the Technical University of Kenya in the coming year.
“This is an affirmation of the commitment made by Ministry of Health regarding the need to strengthen human resource capacity building for cancer management in Kenya and beyond as a step towards delivering Universal Health Coverage,” she said.
The CS acknowledged that the cancer burden presents unique challenges to already strained health systems in Africa on top of human resource capacity building challenges such as shortage of specialists in the critical fields of medical physics, radiation oncology, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy technology and oncology nursing.
“In Kenya, for example, there are only 16 radiation oncologists, 10 medical physicists, 35 oncology nurses, 27 therapy radiographers and 3 nuclear medicine physicians, hence the establishment of the oncology program,” she revealed.
She noted that the Ministry of Health is also committed to expanding radiotherapy services and is in partnership with the county governments of Nakuru, Mombasa and Garissa, to support the construction of radiotherapy bunkers and their supra-structures as well as equipping them to improve access to radiotherapy services within the country.
She appreciated the partnership with IAEA through Kenyatta National Hospital that has assisted in strengthening human resource capacity for cancer management in Kenya and IAEA’s proposal of a new project for Kenya to support the national radiotherapy expansion project through capacity building initiatives.
”It is through this partnership and others that we will realise our promise of “leaving no-one behind” through the delivery of Universal Health Coverage and indeed the Big Four Agenda,” she said.

Director, Directorate of Healthcare services Dr.Laban Nthiga in MOH reading speech on behalf of Cabinet Secretary during the official launch of the Africa Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training related to Nuclear Science and Technology [ AFRA ] and the African Radiation Oncology Group[AFROG ] conferences held at Nairobi Hospital. This is an affirmation of the commitment made by Ministry of Health regarding the need to strengthen human resource capacity building for cancer management in Kenya and beyond as a step towards delivering Universal Health Coverage.

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