Waiguru calls for more concerted interventions to accelerate the pace of progress against cancer

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru says there is urgent need for more interventions to accelerate the pace of progress against cancer in the country in the wake of rising deaths.

Waiguru said cancer continues to be an enormous public health challenge across the country with the economic burden of the disease both on individuals and the country’s health care system on the rise.

The Governor said the disease continues to threaten  the country’s achievements, development goals and aspirations due to loss of production, cost of care and premature deaths.

In a speech read on her behalf by Deputy Governor David Githanda during free cancer medical camp at Raimu primary school in Kianyaga, Waiguru urged residents to embrace routine screening since many forms of cancer if diagnosed at an early stage can be managed and treated successfully.

“We have learnt that many cancer cases can be prevented, and even when prevention is not possible, early diagnosis saves lives. I urge all the residents of Kirinyaga County to embrace routine screening since many forms of cancer diagnosed at an early stage can be managed and treated successfully. Indeed, evidence shows that 40% of all cancer deaths can be prevented if diagnosed early,” she said.

The Council of Governors (COG) chair said one in 10 deaths in Kirinyaga is due to Cancer, making it the disease the leading cause of premature death among non-communicable diseases, after cardiovascular disease.

She said the country need to take “swift and decisive” action to reduce pollution, carcinogens, mitigate behaviours that increase cancer risks and tackle obstacles and hesitancy to vaccination against preventable cancers.

The governor said the county has made progress in fight against the disease following the establishment of a Cancer Center at the Kerugoya County Referral Hospital.

Waiguru said the cancer center has attended to about 2500 cancer cases with statistics showing breast and cervical cancers are the most prevalent among women while prostate and cancer of the esophagus are the most common among men in the county.

“The cancer screening services offered at the center has helped in early diagnoses of many types of cancer and besides diagnoses, we have cryotherapy and thermal ablation machines which we are using for treatment. This facility has saved the cancer patients the agony of travelling long distances and incurring costs in search of cancer treatment at national referral facilities and other private hospitals,” she added.

The governor said her administration will commit adequate budgetary provisions for essential supplies and human resources to ensure that the rising burden of cancer in Kirinyaga is reversed.

Principal Secretary for Public Health and Professional Standards Mary Muthoni called on Kenyans to embrace the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine aimed at preventing cervical cancer.

She said the country is grappling with 42,000 cases of cancer and 27, 000 deaths every year and thus the need to intensify the prevention measures.

“To address the alarming cancer cases, we have a global strategy called 70:90:70, aiming for 70% of girls aged 9 to 15 to be vaccinated against HPV, 90% of women to undergo screening, and 70% of women diagnosed with cancer to receive treatment,” Muthoni said.

The PS called on Kenyans to get screened for cancer saying many cancer cases can be prevented or treated if diagnosed early.

Muthoni also drummed up support for the new social health insurance saying that it will help ease the burden of medical treatment.

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