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New cervical cancer treatment machine out

Health & Science
 First Lady Margaret Kenyatta with members of her team after she received the 'United Nations Person of the Year 2014' award for her efforts in the Beyond Zero campaign.

Women have a reason to smile following the introduction of a new cost-effective technique to screen and treat cervical cancer.

Under the new technology that was announced yesterday, when a woman tests negative, she will not need re-testing until after five years. Cervical cancer is caused by the sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract.

Under the technology, both testing and treatment for those infected with cervical cancer cells will cost only Sh1,000 compared to previous methods whose cost was prohibitive.

The good news about the new technology was officially released yesterday to First Lady Margaret Kenyatta by the Director of BIO-ZEQ Kenya Mahmoud Ng'ang'a when he accompanied Danish Ambassador to Kenya Geert Aagard Andersen to State House.

The new machine will cost about Sh2.3 million and the Office of the First Lady will receive one free of charge to boost the Beyond Zero campaign. The announcement is a major boost to the campaign as it will go a long way in improving women's health.

The BIO-ZEQ Kenya team, which included their Clinical Cytologist Sami Eldirdiri, said they have quietly piloted their new technology in Kitui for the last three months and are now ready to roll the programme in other parts of the country.

Their preliminary findings in Kitui are indicative of high prevalence of the HPV which stands at 20 per cent.

According to medical experts, early detection and treatment of cervical cancer has been demonstrated to dramatically improve the chances of survival. "The challenge is to expand screening services across the country," said Ng'ang'a, adding the best method is through mobile clinics like those of Beyond Zero as currently being piloted in Kitui.

According to the team, other challenges to combat cervical cancer include competing health care priorities, insufficient financial resources, weak health systems and limited numbers of trained health care providers.

The First Lady welcomed the new campaign.

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