KENYA – Kenya has inaugurated an advanced Centre of Excellence for Cancer Research and Training at the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) in Nairobi County.

According to the Health Ministry, cancer accounts for approximately 10 percent of all disease mortalities in Kenya with 42,000 new cancer cases and 27,000 deaths reported every year.

The major types of cancer accounting for more than 70 percent of cases in the country are breast, cervical, prostate, esophageal and colon cancers with lifestyle changes, obesity, advanced age and late diagnosis being the leading causes of cancer cases.

The Cancer Center will focus on improving cancer outcomes through early detection, rapid diagnosis and the delivery of high-quality care as well as enhance medical research, workforce training and education of healthcare professionals.

It will also house a next generation sequencing machine for research on genomics to better understand cancer incidences in Kenya and the Region.

In addition, the initiative is a boost to the ongoing reforms within the health sector that will revolutionize the country’s healthcare delivery to meet health needs of individuals.

The Centre will support ongoing efforts to comprehensively deal with the cancer menace as research findings will help better understand the types of cancers prevalent in Kenya and the Region and how best to manage the disease.

The Kenyatta University Hospital partnered with the University of Manchester and the Christie Foundation to set up the health infrastructure that seeks to uplift the standard of healthcare in the country.

The University of Manchester and The Christie Foundation will further support capacity building especially for clinical services and PET/CT scan in order to detect early signs of cancer, heart disease and brain disorders.

The international institutions have also offered KUTRRH a KES 446 million (US$4m) NIHR Esophageal Cancer Research which will be used to study Esophageal cancer, establish the cancer spread in the country along with its causes, best treatment and improved outcomes.

The launch was graced by representatives of the Ministry of Health, Members of the KUTRRH Board of Directors, Members of the Hospital Management and medical practitioners, representatives from the University of Manchester and The Christie Foundation among others.

Kenya and the United Kingdom signed two key agreements in the health sector in July last year aimed at promoting the exchange of health workforce between Kenya and the United Kingdom.

The development partners also established a new Centre of Excellence for Healthcare Education Training at the Kisii University to serve the entire East African region.

Last year, Kenya launched the Integrated Molecular Imaging Centre (IMIC) at Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital to increase the capacity of the hospital to offer comprehensive cancer care.

The Center entails cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and palliative care to fill the cancer care gap in the country.

Moreover, the Ministry of Health established the National Cancer Taskforce in 2021 as a measure to enhance cancer control and management in the country.

The taskforce has embarked on the process of reviewing the institutional framework for cancer management, assessing cancer human resources, health products, technologies and infrastructure.

The taskforce is also reviewing existing legislation and policies on cancer prevention as well as providing strategic recommendations.

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