Saturday, May 25, 2024

Kenyan governors want cancer declared national disaster

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Governors in Kenya have joined the call for the government to declare cancer a national disaster.

They have urged the country’s President Uhuru Kenyatta to make the declaration to help mobilize resources to deal with the disease.

The council of governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya made the call on Saturday days after ordinary citizens staged a protest to make a similar call.

Kenya is getting overwhelmed by a surge inĀ cancer related deaths and citizens are demanding urgent action.

At least 33,000 people die from cancer annually in Kenya. Many patients are forced to seek medical care abroad once they have the means.

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The poor who are unable to access needed funding and therapy are left to die.

Many patients screen for the disease very late when there is little to do to help them.

The government has said it wants to set up more chemotherapy and radiotherapy centres across the country.

Kenya protests over cancer
Protesters want the disease declared a national disaster. Photo: BBC

Prominent Kenyans fall victim

Among the prominent Kenyans who have died from the disease are Bomet Governor Dr Joyce Laboso, Kibra MP Ken Okoth and Safaricom former CEO Bob Collymore.

“According to the latest report by the National Cancer Institute of Kenya, cancer is most prevalent in Kisumu, Kakamega, Nyeri, Nakuru, Bomet and Uasin-Gishu counties, ” Mr Oparanya said in a statement.

He adds that “I believe that the two levels of government must now consult and cooperate in coming up with various solutions to deal with this deadly monster”.

Cancer in Kenya
Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso, Kibra MP Ken Okoth and Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore died of cancer in the month of July 2019. PHOTOS | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Cancer is the third leading cause of death in Kenya. Kenyans government is now under pressure to act quickly to address the crisis.

Seeking treatment is becoming expensive for ordinary Kenyans. Only around 35 oncologists serve a population of 40 million people.

The limited number of care givers means there are always delays in treating patients.

Some patients have to pay as high as $19,171 to access cancer treatment, that is too expensive for majority who end up dying.


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