Relief for patients as four cancer centres to be set up for Sh8bn

The Kenyatta National Hospital. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The Kenyatta National Hospital. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Health ministry has announced a plan to build four cancer centres for Sh8 billion starting this June in a move which promises to shorten the waiting time for thousands of patients.

Dr Anne Ng’ang’a, the Head of the National Cancer Control Programme in the Ministry of Health announced this yesterday during a regional workshop on the country’s cancer strategy for the next five years for the Lake Basin counties in Kisumu.

The centres will mainly target populations in Kisii, Nyeri, Nakuru and Mombasa but will expand its reach to patients in the neighbouring counties. Each centre will be constructed at Sh2 billion.

Dr Ng’ang’a said feasibility studies have been done in the counties.

“We have already started procuring equipment to start them off. By June the facilities should be well equipped with chemotherapy unit as we plan for the radiotherapy and palliative care unit,” she said

She said the centres would decongest the Kenyatta National Hospital. All patients currently travel to Nairobi for the services.

“We want to decentralise treatment away from Nairobi and the centres are going to offer all the services from preventive to palliative care. Patients would not have to travel to Nairobi,” she said.

The new strategy, the Roadmap to Cancer Control in Kenya, defines the roles of both the national and county governments. It has five pillars – prevention, diagnosis, treatment, coordination partnership as well as financing and monitoring and evaluation.

“All these will be done in collaboration with counties,” she said

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide with approximately 14 million new cases reported annually. It was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015.

Globally, every one in six deaths is due to cancer. Of these deaths, about 70 per cent occur in low and middle income countries.

In Kenya, an estimated 40,000 new cancer cases and 28,000 deaths occur each year, making the disease the third leading cause of mortality and accounting for seven per cent of all annual deaths.