•It becomes the 13th cancer centre in the country.
•Among the services to be offered are cancer screening, medical oncology consultation, pain management, daycare palliative physical consultation and counselling.
Kirinyaga county has launched a cancer centre that will ease the burden of patients travelling a long distance to seek treatment.
The initiative programme is a joint partnership between governors’ spouses, county government and other private cancer treatment associations.
The facility has been established at the Kerugoya Referral Hospital.
It becomes the 13th cancer centre in the country.
Governor Anne Waiguru said the programme will provide the much-needed cancer treatment.
Among the services to be offered are cancer screening, medical oncology consultation, pain management, daycare palliative physical consultation and counselling.
Waiguru said with one oncologist, the facility will treat 20 patients per day under NHIF medical scheme and county government support.
“More residents will access the care they need. The facility will save them from travelling long distances and incurring costs in search of cancer treatment at national referral facilities,” the governor said.
She said the available machine will detect and treat cancer at early stages without referrals.
Waiguru urged residents to get screened and necessary treatment because cancer is manageable and curable when detected in its early stages.
To offer efficient cancer treatment services, Waiguru announced plans to hire more chronic diseases specialists and promote other medical personnel in the next financial year.
She said they help offer specialised treatment when Kerugoya Level 5 Hospital is completed.
“One in ten diseases diagnosed in the county hospitals is cancer. This makes it the second leading cause of premature death among chronic ailments after cardiovascular disease,” Waiguru said.
Kirinyaga is ranked among the top five counties with a high prevalence of the disease.
Global cancer observatory indicates that last year there were over 27,000 cancer deaths in Kenya with approximately 42,000 cancer diagnoses in the same year.
Lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo said the existing partnerships between the county and private organisations, are crucial in lessening the suffering of Kenyans.
He urged all partners to continue supporting the county government to enable the sustainability of the programme.
Kamotho urged county governments to prioritise investing in better hospital infrastructures that will provide reliable, fast and efficient medical services.
Waiganjo urged residents to go for cancer screening and know their status for easy management.
He particularly urged men above 40 years to go for regular prostate cancer check-up to help tackle it early.
Dorothy Nyong’o, the chair for the governors’ spouses association, echoed his sentiment.
She said research had shown that prostate cancer is more aggressive in African men compared to men from other races.
“This discovery provides an extra burden and for that sake, men have to be on the lookout as much as they are living a healthy lifestyle, ”she said.
The Kisumu first lady urged Kenyans not to shy away from having discussions that surround cancer as this will help lessen the stigma and create awareness.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris