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National cancer taskforce on a fact-finding mission in Meru

The national cancer taskforce visited Meru County Tuesday in order to find out ways and areas of partnership in a bid to contain the disease.

Addressing the media at Meru Teaching and Referral hospital, the taskforce chairperson Dr. Mary Nyangasi said the visit was meant to collect information and insights from the county leadership as well as the members of the public on what needs to be done to address the menace.

National cancer taskforce chairperson Dr. Mary Nyangasi addressing the media at Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital on Tuesday July 13, 2021. Photo by Dickson Mwiti

“We have discussed with the county and the hospital teams and we are going to receive a memorandum from the county highlighting the areas we need to tackle as a way of managing the disease,” said Dr. Nyangasi, adding that the insights will also help them come up with policies to guide efforts to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment in the country.

The team has so far visited Nakuru county and they are also intending to visit Mombasa on the same agenda.

“We have also been visiting various institutions like Kemsa and facilities like Kenyatta National hospital among others as well as engaging other stakeholders in order to come up with a concrete roadmap on how to deal with the disease,” she said.

Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu who represented Governor Kiraitu Murungi welcomed the taskforce’s initiative, adding that the visit was long overdue considering that the county has turned to be a hotspot of cancer.

“We are happy that the national government through the ministry of health has found it necessary to send a task force so that we can discuss, fact-find and prepare a memorandum highlighting the issues we have in Meru and how solutions can be found and be applied across the county,” said Mr Ntuchiu.

He added, “We are happy as a county government considering that during the 2021/2022 financial year, the national government has allocated about Sh350 million to Meru County for setting up the cancer centre that will go a long way in serving patients from this region.”

He said the county the government was doing everything possible to make sure that early diagnosis and detection of cancer succeeded despite the challenges they were facing including lack of adequate resources.

Meru County Executive for Health Meshack Mutuma addressing the media at Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital on Tuesday July 13, 2021. Photo by Dickson Mwiti

“Seeing the national taskforce here today makes us believe that we will get more assistance and lessen the menace in the county,” said Ntuchiu, adding that the government will continue to invest resources in this sector in order to lessen this burden.

The County Executive for Health Meshack Mutuma said the residents have suffered huge economic impacts following the disease and that they were eagerly waiting for assistance from the national government to deal with the burden.

He said despite having a cancer centre in the county, they were facing challenges of huge workload considering that they were treating many people including those from the neighbouring counties.

“Subsequently, the health department is requesting the national government to make this facility a regional cancer centre to take care of the growing population of patients,” he said.

Mutuma also appealed to the national government to establish a radiotherapy department, deploy cancer specialists as well as subsidize the cost of cancer drugs to the many patients visiting the centre located at Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital.

By Dickson Mwiti

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