KENYA – Kenya has inaugurated a KES650M (US$5.56M) Regional Cancer Center at the Nakuru Level 5 Teaching and Referral Hospital in Nakuru County Government to boost access to comprehensive cancer treatment for individuals and communities without risking their financial hardship.

The newly launched regional Radiotherapy Cancer Centre in Nakuru County will increase access to radiotherapy services in line with Universal Health Coverage that aims to ensure all health services are affordable to all Kenyans and reduce unnecessary pain and suffering.

The facility will also save cancer patients from travelling long distances and incurring costs in search of cancer treatment at national referral facilities since now patients will get access to cheap, quality and timely treatment in Nakuru County.

In addition, the Kenyan Government has established regional cancer centres providing chemotherapy and surgical services for cancer patients in other counties including Embu, Meru, Kisumu, Bomet, Garissa, Machakos, Mombasa and Kakamega.

The cancer treatment facilities inaugurated across the country will further help in decongesting national health facilities, nearly 40% of all Kenya’s cancer patients who received cancer services in 2021 sought medical care at regional centers close to their homes.

Health Principal Secretary (PS) Susan Mochache reaffirmed that the Ministry of Health has prioritized improving healthcare access in Kenya, noting that the increasing number of cancer cases in the country has necessitated urgent solid measures to ensure patients receive the medical attention required.

She further revealed that the ministry was partnering with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to ensure cancer treatment and diagnosis is covered fully under the national insurer and enable all cancer patients to complete their treatment.

Health PS Mochache urged stakeholders from government, civil society and organizations that deliver cancer care to work together to rid the country off the cancer menace, noting that cancer is estimated to be the third leading cause of death in Kenya with 37,000 new cases and 28,000 deaths annually.

Additionally, the Ministry of Health has designed a national cancer control strategy to ease the rising cancer and guide the country in putting in place specific interventions burden towards cancer prevention and control based on the existing risk factors and available resources

She encouraged cancer survivors that there is life beyond a cancer diagnosis, adding that the health ministry has already put in place structures to support patients by improving access to treatment services and supporting cancer centers with essential oncology drugs and rehabilitative items.

Furthermore, she advised the public to embrace free cancer screening services at level two public hospitals and called for support of those undergoing cancer treatment in the community, noting that late diagnosis of cancer is fueling poverty among Kenyan households due to its exorbitant cost of treatment.

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