KENYA – The Ministry of Health has introduced HPV DNA testing in 27 county referral hospitals in a renewed effort by the government to fight against the rising burden of cervical cancer in the country.
Kenyans can now access HPV DNA testing in more than 27 county referral hospitals in the country.
This is a laboratory test in which cells are scraped from the cervix to look for DNA of human papillomaviruses (HPV) that cause cervical cancer.
HPV DNA testing is the recommended gold-standard method for cervical cancer screening.
The Ministry of Health has also distributed more than 800 thermoablation and 200 LEEP devices for the treatment of cervical pre-cancerous lesions to level 2 to 6 health facilities countrywide.
Thermal ablation is a procedure that uses a heated probe tip to the cervix in order to destroy the precancerous cells.
Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) on the other hand is an electrically charged wire loop used to remove the outer portion of the cervix containing the abnormal tissue, which then can be examined under a microscope to confirm that no cancer remains.
The initiative is done in collaboration with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and seeks to provide more for counties that have not yet received them.
Health CS Susan Wafula has reiterated the ministry’s commitment to achieving Sustainable development Goal 3 by reducing premature mortalities from cervical cancer and ensuring Kenya’s future generations are free from cervical cancer.
“In the fight against cervical cancer in Kenya, one of the issues we have observed is failure to take action,” Wafula said.
“This is why we have intensified awareness campaigns this month, and we will continue to sustain efforts to encourage behaviour change among all.”
The CS disclosed that the ministry of health has built a capacity of over 6,500 healthcare workers in all 47 counties at different levels of care with the skills to screen and treat the pre-cancer stage of the disease.
“In the fight against cervical cancer in Kenya, one of the issues we have observed is failure to take action. This is why we have intensified awareness campaigns this month, and we will continue to sustain efforts to encourage behaviour change among all,” she noted.
Cancer remains a major public health concern, not just here in Kenya, but globally as well, with close to 10 million deaths recorded globally in 2020.
In Kenya, cancer is the second leading non-communicable disease after cardiovascular diseases, with 42,000 new cases and 27,000 deaths recorded every year according to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.
The CS revealed that Kenya is among the top 20 high cervical cancer burden countries globally with about 3,240 women losing their lives annually translating to about 9 women dying daily.
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