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Breast cancer centre launched at KU hospital

Health & Science
 PS Susan Mochache (right) launches the KU hospital Comprehensive Breast Care Centre on Friday. [Jael Mboga, Standard]

Cancer patients have asked the government to offer comprehensive coverage through NHIF.

Mary Mwangi, a breast cancer survivor, said NHIF covered only part of her treatment costs.

She said the most crucial part for a patient is the diagnosis stage. "We spend a lot of time looking for money while the cancer is spreading to the next stage."

Mwangi spoke at the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital on Friday at the launch of the Comprehensive Breast Care Centre. The centre provides a one-stop shop for screening, diagnostics and treatment for breast care conditions, including breast cancer.

Mwangi thanked the government for the centre at KU hospital but called for more services that would help patients reintegrate back into society. She said many lose jobs and businesses while they focus on getting better, which sometimes leads to depression.

Breast cancer survivor Lucy Njeru said all counties should have cancer centres. She also called for early screening services which should all be under one roof.

Reiterating the need to have all services under one roof, Health PS Susan Mochache said: "This (centre) being the first of its kind in Kenya strongly resonates with our mission to reduce the burden of breast cancer by enabling timely diagnosis."

The Health ministry also announced the signing of a deal with Roche to launch the Herceptin SC Access Programme. It will ensure any patient diagnosed with breast cancer upon screening and who is eligible for the drug will have access to it with the 18 cycles of treatment fully covered as long as they have an NHIF card.

"It will ensure our women with breast cancer have access to the standard quality of care for breast cancer treatment," Mochache said.

KU Hospital CEO Ahmed Dagane said currently the centre has been attending to an average of 20 patients daily. "Upon the launch, we look forward to attending to at least 50 patients daily for screenings, early diagnosis, and treatment."

Services at the centre include breast health education, clinical breast examination, mammograms, breast ultrasound, and breast MRI, among others.

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