CS Health Kenya inaugurates board to fight cancer menace

July 31, 2019, Nairobi –The Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki has inaugurated the National Cancer Institute Board of Directors directing it to initiate a nation-wide lifestyle modification campaign to reach all Kenyans where they are.

The Board  to be chaired by Dr. Ochiba Lukandu has been advised to

prioritize awareness creation and to coordinate all stakeholders towards a collective response to the cancer burden.

Speaking during the inauguration of the Board the CS attributed the current rise in the number of cases of cancer to ageing populations arising from improved life expectancy and the increasing adoption of risky behaviour such as consumption of unhealthy diets, lack of physical exercise, harmful use of alcohol and tobacco use.

“In Kenya and the African Region as a whole, infections due to HIV, Human Papilloma Virus and Hepatitis B and C viruses have also significantly contributed to the cancer burden,” she noted.

It is estimated that 47,887 new cases of cancer are detected and 32,987 people die annually and approximately 3,200 new cancer cases among children below 18 years.

The 5 most common cancers in the country include: Breast, Cervical, Oesophageal, Prostate and Colorectal cancer.

The CS highlighted that the country’s capacity to detect cancer has significantly improved that is why there is an increase in the number of cases.

She noted that the government has made significant strides in enhancing access to cancer screening especially Cervical cancer screening services which are now  available in public facilities from level 3  to level 6.

Clinical breast examination is also being conducted in public facilities from Level 3 upwards and Mammography services in every county referral hospital following implementation of the National Government’s Managed Equipment Service project.

Screening for colorectal cancer is also available at Level 5 and 6 facilities and chemotherapy in 7 county referral hospitals in Mombasa, Kisumu, Kakamega, Garissa, Nyeri, Nakuru and Meru.

The CS revealed that three more hospitals namely  Embu, Bomet and Machakos are set to start offering chemotherapy services in September this year.