REPUBLIC OF KENYA

Radical proposals as national cancer taskforce hands over report

               

The national cancer taskforce is proposing a raft of interventions that it says will enable the country adequately deal with the challenge posed by cancer.
In a report handed over to health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Wednesday, the taskforce is recommending improvement of service provision, health workforce, health products and technologies, health information and research coupled with adequate financing and a robust leadership and governance framework.
According to the Taskforce chairperson Dr. Mary Nyangasi, there was a need for the country to put in place strategic investments to ensure that Kenyans are cushioned against the health and economic impacts of the rising burden of cancer.
Speaking while receiving the report, the health CS said the recommendations should provide a platform for the country to decisively deal with the cancer burden which remains a contributor of disease burden and financial catastrophe to many households and communities. This even as he called on the need to bring all stakeholders including the council of governors on board to ensure concurrence and smooth implementation of the recommendations.
In its report, the taskforce has identified a number of gaps in the country’s cancer care delivery model. Among the recommendations include adoption of a hub and spoke concept in cancer management through the creation of a cancer center of excellence focused on clinical care, research and training as a hub for the country, accelerate oncology workforce development through local and international training collaborations as well as establishing innovative financing mechanisms. The mechanism includes enhancement of UHC benefits package to cover cancer services along the entire continuum, support of cancer screening at primary healthcare through conditional grants to counties and the creation of a cancer fund.
The taskforce is also recommending the introduction of a pricing policy regulation on cancer health products and technologies (HPTs) as well as framework agreements to lower cost of HPTs.
The taskforce has also proposed the strengthening of legislative framework on cancer prevention and control through review of existing policies and guidelines on cancer prevention and control as well as a review and amendment of the cancer prevention and control Act. The amendment is intended to fully operationalize the national cancer institute, strengthen the institute’s regulatory, research and training function, establish a cancer fund and regulate and coordinate cancer management services.
The taskforce also wants the national cancer institute of Kenya (NCI-K) operationalized through development of relevant regulations and enabling instruments for employment of competent personnel to deliver on its mandate.
Cancer is the leading cause of deaths in Kenya and a major contributor to the impoverishment of affected individuals and their families. The ministry of health recognized the need to address the growing challenges resulting from cancer and appointed a National Cancer Taskforce in May 2021.
The taskforce was tasked with reviewing the current institutional framework for cancer management, assess the human resource capacity, technologies, medical products and infrastructure for cancer. The team was also expected to analyse local actors and stakeholders as well as global best practices in cancer care, review adequacy of existing legal and policy instruments for cancer response and recommend strategic interventions to reform the delivery of cancer services across the country.