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Kiambu residents to benefit from oesophageal cancer screening

Kiambu County is among five counties that hosted a delegation from the University of Manchester and Kenyatta University Teaching Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) to deliberate on areas of collaboration on matters of health specifically oesophageal cancer.

The County Executive for Health Services Dr. Elias Maina who received the delegation Thursday at Thika Level 5 hospital noted that there was a unique partnership between The University of Manchester, The Christies NHS Foundation Trust, and KUTRRH focused on raising awareness in regards to Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus (OSCC) in the country and increasing engagement in public screening opportunities using mobile detection units.

The delegation was led by Dr. Marion Kiguoya, Deputy Director Research and Clinical Trials at KUTRRH.

According to the International Agency for cancer research, Oesopharyngeal Carcinoma is the 3rd most common cancer in Kenya and the most lethal, as 99 percent of patients with the disease die within 5 years of initial diagnosis.

This is largely attributed to the late diagnosis of the patients who present themselves for screening when the disease is in the advanced fatal stages.

Speaking in his office, Maina said the delegation’s objective was to familiarize themselves with the Kiambu County Health Care system and the oncology department’s specific requirement gaps to facilitate identification of areas, where partnership was necessary in bridging cancer screening measures.

“The organization will establish small screening facilities across the county, with Thika Level 5 being one of the key areas where endoscopies for the project will be conducted. This will ensure that services are accessible to most residents and we will also get to utilize Community Health Volunteers (CHV) for referrals at the community level,” said Dr. Maina.

He added that the initiative would enhance early screening and detection of OSCC that would therefore establish and strengthen a favorable referral system between the county hospitals and KUTRRH.

The delegation also ventured into the community to witness the community unit, the focal point for providing and promoting awareness among functionaries involved in healthcare initiatives.

The visit marked a crucial step in fostering collaboration and understanding for the advancement of cancer research and healthcare initiatives in the country.

By Hellen Lunalo

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