KENYA – The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has been designated as the collaborating Centre for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

KEMRI will therefore be one of the three collaborating focal centers working closely with the sub-Saharan Africa hub, the Africa Cancer Registries Network and the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR).

Acting Director of Medical Services Dr. Patrick Amoth says the designation will support capacity building for cancer registries in sub-Sahara Africa.

He termed it as a major plus not just for KEMRI, but also Kenya and the region which is currently dealing with a surge of cancer and other Non-Communicable Diseases.

“Cancer registration is an essential platform for research and monitoring of cancer control programmes in the country,” Dr. Amoth said in a speech read by Ag. Director of Quality & Standards, Dr Simon Kibias during the launch IARC.

Amoth said Kenya is undergoing an epidemiological transition, with an ever-increasing burden from non-communicable diseases like cancer where 42,000 cases were recorded in 2020 as per the Global Cancer Index (GLOBOCAN), and the burden is expected to double by 2040.

Dr Amoth further noted that Cancer was a leading cause of catastrophic health expenditure, impoverishing individuals, families and communities.

“Effective cancer control requires massive investment across the entire health system, touching on all the health system building blocks, from health workforce training to health commodities, to financing, data and information systems,” he said.

Cancer data is important within the cancer control continuum as it helps to document the cancer burden, informs policy prioritization, guides resource allocation and also helps to generate research hypothesis to guide necessary action.

While congratulating KEMRI for the role it has played in cancer registration in the country, the DG said the center establishes Kenya as a globally recognized regional center for cancer registration terming it a major milestone.

He also noted that the center will provide technical expertise to both existing and additional cancer registries, established in line with the ministry’s policy documents.

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