Kisumu County official: No proper data on cancer

Kisumu County Director Health Dickens Onyango. [File, Standard]
The county government lacks accurate data on cancer that can help inform decisions in investment for treatment and follow-up of patients.

According to County Director Health Dickens Onyango, only cervical cancer indicators are well captured and reported on District Health Information Software.

Onyango said the county department of health cannot trace the whereabouts of most  patients.

He said the challenge of inadequate data has been fuelled by lack of data collection tools and registers in the county.

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As a result, the county administration is seeking links with private hospitals for submission of cancer statistics recorded in such health facilities.

“We are calling on partners to aid in developing an integrated cancer surveillance system that captures and reports data for all cancers,” said Onyango.

An oncologist at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Dr Julius Onyango, said there is data in private facilities since many patients are referred and treated there.

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Registered cases

The scantly available data shows that in the last 10 years, the county registered 402 cases of breast cancer, 365 esophagus cancer, 324 kaposis sarcoma (skin cancer), 328 cancer of the cervix, 171 prostate cancer and 164 lymphoma cancer.

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The county has 19 sites for screening cervical cancer, three sites for breast cancer screening, five sites for cytotherapy and another five with thermocoagulation devices.

Cytotherapy refers to cell therapy describing the process of introducing new cells into a tissue in order to treat a disease.

The highest number of screening done in Kisumu includes cervical cancer and breast cancer.

Onyango revealed that there are inadequate opportunities for continuous professional development due to lack of funding for staff who wish to pursue training in oncology.

“Many are willing to train and save lives from cancer but resources for training are inadequate,” said Onyango.

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For the last nine months, reports indicate a decrease in the number of cervical cancer amounting to 324 and an increase of breast cancer patients.

Apart from gaps in data, the county still grapples with inadequate equipment, lack of radiotherapy and few cancer care staff, including specialists.

“There is no integrated screening programme for all cancer sites,” noted Onyango.

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Kisumu CountyCancerDickens Onyango