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Legislator raises alarm over cancer deaths

A lawmaker from Machakos has challenged the national and county governments to come up with urgent measures to tackle cancer.

Machakos County Woman Representative Joyce Kamene made the appeal following the deaths of Kibra MP Ken Okoth and Bomet Governor Dr. Joyce Laboso in a span of less than a week.
Okoth died on Friday after losing the battle to colorectal cancer while Dr. Laboso died Monday at the Nairobi Hospital where she was recuperating after jetting back to the country from India where she had been undergoing treatment for cancer.

Kamene now says there is need for a quick action by leaders to combat the menace both at county and national levels to tame the tide of the killer disease which is decimating at least 30,000 Kenyans every year.

The Woman MP was addressing residents of Mbaikini area in Machakos Township Sub County Monday said many Kenyans have been left stranded with their sick relatives at home since they cannot afford the exorbitant costs needed for treatment of the disease.

“Let us confront this cancer menace and see what we can do about it. It is painful to see families watch helplessly as their relatives die of cancer, since they cannot afford the costs of treatment.

If there were enough screening equipment for the disease and drugs in our health facilities the scenario would be different from what we are witnessing today,” she said.

She is now urging both levels of government to join efforts in ensuring more resources and personnel are channeled towards addressing the disease challenge with several opinion makers urging President Kenyatta to declare it a national disaster.

The World Health Organisation in its 2018 report revealed that a total of 47, 887 new cases of cancer were reported in Kenya.

Out of the cases reported in that year, 19,199 of the patients were male while 28, 688 were females.

A total of 32,987 Kenyans are reported to have died of the disease in 2019 translating to about 91 deaths per day.
According to a report by the Public Health and Sanitation Strategic Plan (2008-2012) lifestyle related diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and cancers would increase, hence posing a threat to the health care system in terms of diverting resources from basic health care services.

Globally, a total of 17 million people are reported to have been diagnosed with cancer with 9.6 million of them dying in 2018 according to Cancer Research UK, a charitable organisation registered in England.

By Samuel Maina

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