The Standard Group Plc is a multi-media organization with investments in media platforms spanning newspaper print operations, television, radio broadcasting, digital and online services. The Standard Group is recognized as a leading multi-media house in Kenya with a key influence in matters of national and international interest.
  • Standard Group Plc HQ Office,
  • The Standard Group Center,Mombasa Road.
  • P.O Box 30080-00100,Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Telephone number: 0203222111, 0719012111
  • Email: [email protected]

CS Nakhumicha outlines Ministry's efforts to combat cervical cancer

Health & Science
 Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha making her presentation at the 77th World Health Assembly side event by the Global Alliance for Women's Health in Geneva. [Courtesy, MoH]

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has unveiled a comprehensive strategy aimed at tackling the rising incidences of breast and cervical cancers in Kenya.

Speaking at the 77th World Health Assembly side event by the Global Alliance for Women’s Health in Geneva, Nakhumicha detailed Kenya’s multifaceted approach encompassing policy frameworks, service delivery initiatives, and legislative measures to enhance cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.

In Kenya cancers account for 30 per cent of new cancer cases in the country, disproportionately affecting women.

"In Kenya, cancer is responsible for approximately 10 per cent of deaths, making it the third leading cause of mortality after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases," said Nakhumicha.

"We see an estimated 44,000 new cancer cases and 29,000 cancer deaths annually."

She highlights the National Cancer Control Strategy 2023-2027 as a crucial roadmap structured around five key pillars of prevention and early detection, imaging, pathology, and laboratory medicine diagnostic services, treatment, palliative care, and survivorship, cancer advocacy, coordination, partnership, and financing, as well as cancer strategic information, registration, and surveillance.

These pillars she said align with the entire cancer control continuum, aiming to create a nation free from the preventable burden of cancer.

According to GLOBOCAN estimates from 2020, Kenya had an annual incidence of 42,116 cancer cases and 27,092 deaths, with a prevalence of 82,620 cases over five years.

The most common cancers include breast, cervical, prostate, esophageal, and colorectal, with women facing a higher incidence rate.

Projections indicate a sharp increase in new cancer cases, driven by population growth, increased life expectancy, urbanization, and greater exposure to cancer risk factors.

By 2028, Kenya is expected to see around 58,000 new cancer cases annually, with this number potentially exceeding 95,000 by 2040. Specifically, breast, cervical, and prostate cancers are projected to rise significantly. For instance, breast cancer cases could nearly double from 6,800 in 2020 to almost 14,700 by 2040.

Nakhumicha emphasised the uneven distribution of cancer incidence across Kenya's counties, necessitating region-specific cancer control efforts. Granular data on cancer patterns at the county level is essential for guiding locally-focused prevention, screening, and treatment initiatives.

Kenya's efforts to combat cancer include enhancing service delivery and enacting supportive legislation.

The country has established three national referral hospitals with specialized cancer centers, including the only CyberKnife system in East Africa. Regional cancer centers in Nakuru, Garissa, and Mombasa are operational, with two more planned in Kisii and Nyeri.

In terms of prevention, 58 per cent of eligible girls had received the first dose of the HPV vaccine by 2022. The country is also rolling out cervical cancer screening through Pap smears and visual inspection methods, and exploring community-based HPV self-sampling.

Newly enacted legislation, such as the Primary Healthcare Act and the Social Health Insurance Act, aims to improve healthcare access and affordability, significantly benefiting cancer patients.

Kenya's efforts have earned international recognition, with the country being selected as the first "lighthouse country" by the Global Alliance for Women's Health to demonstrate best practices in women's cancer control.

The CS welcomed global partnerships to actualize Kenya's vision and alleviate the suffering caused by cancer.

At the 35th Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting, health ministers reaffirmed their commitment to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030.

They highlighted the  COVID-19 pandemic's impact on health inequalities and the urgent need for collaborative action across various sectors to address climate change and health challenges.

The meeting emphasized the importance of investing in primary healthcare, leveraging digital health technologies, and integrating mental health services.

During the National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month event in January 2024, Nakhumicha underscored the need for collective action to address the rising cancer threat.

She announced comprehensive coverage for cancer screenings, diagnostics, and treatments under the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF), with a significant allocation dedicated to cancer care.

The SHIF aims to fortify cancer care services, including screening, diagnostics, treatment, and support like rehabilitation and palliative care, with an annual requirement of approximately Ksh. 46 billion.

She further highlighted the critical need to eliminate the stigma surrounding cancer, which often hinders timely diagnosis and treatment.

Related Topics


Popular this week


Latest Articles


Recommended Articles