CANCER CARE

Acute oncologists, radiographers shortage hurting Embu patients

Oncology centre at the county referral hospital has 10 beds for the treatment of cancer but no resident oncologists.

In Summary

• Embu county has a well-equipped cancer treatment unit but cannot effectively offer services. 

• Health executive Joan Mwende said yesterday that Embu Level 5 Hospital depends on oncologists from Kenyatta National Hospital.

Embu Health Executive Joan Mwende and other health officers at Runyenjes Level 4 Hospital
ALARMED: Embu Health Executive Joan Mwende and other health officers at Runyenjes Level 4 Hospital
Image: REUBEN GITHINJI

An acute shortage of radiographers and oncologists is hampering effective treatment of cancer in Embu. 

The county has a well-equipped cancer treatment unit but cannot effectively offer services. 

Health executive Joan Mwende said yesterday that Embu Level 5 Hospital depends on oncologists from Kenyatta National Hospital.

The oncology department at the county referral hospital has 10 beds for the treatment of cancer but no resident oncologists. 

Mwende said the county government holds cancer clinics on Friday every week because of the shortage. 

She said the county is seeking assistance from the national government to deploy oncologists there. 

Mwende said radiologists and radiographers who help in the screening of patients for diseases, including cancer are few.

The county will soon advertise for additional radiographers and a resident oncologist to support the cancer treatment centre.

“We have about 5,000 cancer patients in the country who need regular attention.  We seriously need a permanent oncologist and additional radiographers to help in the screening of the disease,” Mwende said.

The county executive spoke at Runyejes Level 4 Hospital during a free cancer screening camp organised by the county government and doctors from India.  Local medic Vamal Chadha facilitated the camp.

Mwende said cervical, breast and prostate cancers are the most commonly reported in the county.

She called on the locals to visit hospitals for screening to enable effective treatment of the disease. 

Mwende said the county government is holding regular free camps in various parts to sensitise and screen the residents on cancer. 

The county executive said the Indian doctors had advised the county on the use of telemedicine. The county will explore its options on the technology, she said.