KENYA— Roche, a Swiss global healthcare corporation, has signed an MoU to collaborate with the Kilele Health Association, a non-profit organization, and other private sector companies on a campaign to raise awareness and advocacy for cervical cancer prevention.

This information was revealed during the Roche media day engagement at Radisson Blu, UpperHill Nairobi. 

The media event was attended by Dr. Allan Pamba, Vice President-Africa for Roche Diagnostics, Taofik Oloruko-Oba, Diagnostics GM, Ida Mbuthia, Healthcare Access Lead, and Jonathan Keytel, Strategy and Innovation Lead.

Others were Jacqueline Wambua, General Manager Pharma East Africa, Angela Mule, Patient Journey Partner Pharma, and Benda Kithaka, Executive Director, Kilele Health Association.

This initiative aims to help Kenya’s government achieve its 90-70-90 cancer elimination goals by reaching out to 4 million women and girls by 2027.

The collaboration will include awareness initiatives to help women and girls make informed decisions regarding cervical health, as well as policy engagement.

This would enable long-term support for HPV screening and vaccination, community outreach, and vaccination and screening activities across the country.

WHO data indicates that cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent malignancy in women in the world, with an anticipated 604,000 new cases and 342,000 deaths in 2020.

Cervical cancer is the second most frequent malignancy and the major cause of cancer death among Kenyan women, despite being easily preventable. It is curable if detected early and treated promptly.

Furthermore, Dr. Allan Pamba, Executive Vice President of Africa for Roche Diagnostics, located in Kenya, estimates that approximately 90% of cervical cancer fatalities occur in low to middle-income nations, where the majority of women have never been screened.

As a result, Africa has the highest cervical cancer burden, accounting for almost a quarter of all cases globally. 

These high cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates in Africa indicate significant inequities caused by a lack of access to national HPV vaccine, cervical screening, and treatment programs, as well as social and economic variables.

Cervical cancer is caused by chronic infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), and women living with HIV are six times more likely to acquire cervical cancer than women without HIV.

Prophylactic HPV vaccine, as well as screening and treatment of pre-cancer lesions, are both effective and inexpensive methods of preventing cervical cancer.

During the MoU signing, Benda Kithaka, Executive Director of Kilele Health Association, stated that the GLOBOCAN Report 2020 indicates that 15 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Kenya every day, with 9 women dying each day.

These are women in their prime, active contributors to the economy, a glue for houses, businesses, and communities, and it is Kilele’s responsibility to save their lives according to her.

She went on to say that collaborating with private sector firms such as Roche and others will aid in the creation major change.

Ida Mbuthia, Healthcare Access Lead at Roche Diagnostics, stated that access to screening and reliable HPV testing is crucial to eradicating cervical cancer; no woman should die from a preventable disease. She expressed her pleasure to work with to work with the Kelele Health Association to drive access and advocacy where it is needed the most.  

In addition to reducing the Cancer Burden in Africa through enhanced quality of life in survivorship, Kilele has commitments that focus on building resilience and encouraging positive change among individuals facing chronic health issues.

The association also provides a variety of initiatives and programs that enable both patients and caregivers to embark on transformative journeys toward better health and a more purposeful life.

Kilele’s empowering programs include targeted outdoor walks and challenges that build endurance, and serve as preparation for the KILELE Challenge Summit.

Kilele’s empowering programs include targeted outdoor walks and endurance challenges that help prepare participants for the KILELE Challenge Summit.

Kilele also provides mental wellness coaching, which assists cancer patients in navigating post-treatment emotional issues by giving crucial assistance, stress management, and resilience development.

Their advocacy based on lived experiences fuels transformative advocacy by promoting healthcare and personal development through seminars and collaboration.

The association provides collaborative business initiatives to assist patients and caregivers in rehabilitating while also promoting financial security and community involvement.

 Addressing disparities in access to national HPV vaccination, screening, and testing; and driving collective concentrated efforts and long-term private-public partnerships that are people-centered bring people one step closer to a cervical cancer-free future.

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