The government has urged Kenyans to go for cancer screening for possible early detection saying that 59 cases of deaths from the total number of Covid-19 deaths are cancer-related.
Health experts have said that three percent of Covid-19 deaths were people who had cancer as an underlying condition.
Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe noted that cancer screening is being integrated in the Universal Health Coverage benefit package to ensure availability of cervical cancer screening services in all public facilities from level two upwards.
“One of the main challenges in the fight against cancer is low uptake of screening and early detection services for most common cancers,” Kagwe said, adding that only 16 per cent of women in the reproductive age group have gone for cervical cancer screening.
He further explained that only 10 per cent of women have gone for a clinical breast examination from a healthcare provider.
Kagwe directed Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) to take advantage of the economies of scale provided by the pooled procurement for oncology medicine, to have strategic pricing discussions with the relevant drug manufacturers to drive the cost of cancer medicines down.
Kagwe noted that the government is mainstreaming cancer prevention and initiatives in all ministry departments as well as sustain sensitization efforts across mainstream public service through a series of monthly webinars on different topical issues in cancer control,
“Three percent of Covid-19 deaths are related to cancer or occur to people who had cancer as an underlying condition,” Health Director General Patrick Amoth said during the briefing at Afya House, Nairobi.
Amoth further added that the ministry is targeting the people who are at the highest risk of getting the virus in its test, including the truck drivers. He revealed that the country will receive Covid-19 vaccines under the COVAX Facility by late February.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said that as the country joins the world in commemorating World Cancer Day, Kenyans should take a step and take part in cancer screening.
“Cancer is one of the underlying diseases that have had a major impact when it comes to the Coronavirus disease,” said Aman.
The ministry said that the top five cancers diagnosed annually in the country are breast cancer with approximately 6,800 new cases, cervical cancer (5,200), prostate (3,400), esophagus (2,900), and colorectal 2,724 new cases, accounting to 50 per cent of all new cancer cases annually.
Turning to Covid-19,180 more patients who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total caseload in the country to 101,339.
The new cases were picked from 4,580 samples bringing the total cumulative tests done since March when the first case was reported to 1,200,302.
“Four more patients have succumbed to the virus, bringing the total fatality cases to 1, 773,”read a statement signed by Kagwe.
by Alice Gworo