The Ambassadors of Universal Health Care (AUHC) have urged the government through the Ministry of Health to conduct a cancer census, with a view to declaring the deadly disease a national disaster.
They stated that they already presented a petition to Parliament and the Ministry of Health on 20th February 2019 for discussion.
Speaking during a public address on Thursday, the Director of Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company and an advocate for cancer awareness, Karen Nyamu said it is high time the government addressed cancer menace.
Nyamu lamented that Kenya has become a cancer country yet the Health Cabinet Secretary (CS), Sicily Kariuki said in a national broadcast on 30th August 2019 that the available data was insufficient for cancer to be declared a national disaster.
“We are just wondering that if data is the problem, then why didn’t the government ask cancer related questions in the just concluded national census to get the numbers right so as to address the matter,” she queried
The cancer advocates now want the government to take up the role of creating awareness through cancer screening in all Level 3 and 4 hospitals and set aside adequate funds for treatment processes right from the grassroots level.
Nyamu further said the Universal Healthcare enshrined in the Big Four Agenda can only be achieved if every Kenyan can afford treatment without much economic strain.
On her part, the Disease Eradication Civil Society Assembly (DESCA) founder, Emily Mukomunene stated that the Ministry of Health should have data so as to help control the menace since people are already getting screened.
“I would like to put to your attention that mere screening is not enough and the victims need to be offered free treatment to reduce cancer deaths,” stated Mukomunene, adding that Kenyans should also be educated and empowered to fight cancer to ensure minimal exposure to the menace.
The Gold Ribbon Initiative founder, Kevin Odour said that they are calling upon the political leaders to help pass the bill in parliament.
“Let us not wait until it’s too late to address the matter or when someone prominent passes on so that we now get worried, we need to act now,” Oduor said.
By Njeri Kariuki