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More African countries brace up for cancer challenge in 2019

  • Kenya negotiates with drug manufacturers to slash treatment cost

  • Ghana launches National Guideline for management

  • Nigeria to establish more treatment centres

Cervical Cancer screening in a Zambian health facility


Amid report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) showing that new cases of cancer will rise by about 70% in Africa over the next 2 decades, some African countries have announced measures to control the dreaded disease in the continent.

In a move to ensure easier access to treatment, the Kenyan Government announced it was negotiating with drug manufacturers with a view to lowering the cost of cancer treatment in the country.

Also, the government has embarked on a campaign to encourage citizens to go for early cancer screening so as to reduce the high mortality rates associated with the disease

Kenyan Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Sicily Kariuki disclosed these after inspecting equipment and services in one of the country’s health institutions, the Ruiru Level 4 Hospital, according to reports by the Kenya News Agency.

The hospital which serves a population of over 600,000 people is currently being upgraded and The CS said that plans to upgrade it to a level 5 Hospital are at an advanced stage.

He said that the facility would be expanded and allocated more resources, personnel and equipment to be able to offer quality health care in the territory.

Also in a bid to combat the cancer menace in Africa, The Ghana Health Service at the weekend launched its first-ever National Guidelines for Cancer Management in the country.

Ghana News Agency reports that the 126-page document was developed by a team of experts including surgeons, oncologists, paediatricians, pharmacists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, nutritionists, haematologists and epidemiologists.

The document is a follow-up to the national Strategy for Cancer Control in Ghana and provides tools and knowledge for various categories of health practitioners to make decisions regarding cancer patient care at their levels of competence.

It describes in detail various interventions that should be performed at each level of care depending on the expertise, available equipment and the appropriate centres for referrals.

Launching the new document in Accra, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare described it as user-friendly, saying the document provides clear guidelines on activities for respective cancer care at various levels of care, including referrals.

“I am happy with the content of the document, which is very intensive,” he said.

Also at the weekend, the Nigerian Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole visited the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on an inspection tour of the new state-of-the-art Cancer Centre being established in the hospital and announced that the government would replicate the centre across other zones in the country within the first quarter of 2019.

“The cancer treatment centre (in LUTH) is almost ready. By February, it will start operation fully for the benefit of the patients.

“We will also be partnering with the state government by making sure states provide infrastructure while the Federal government provides money to maintain it.

“We are also moving ahead by producing adequate doctors in all health facilities, retain our health professionals by providing necessary equipment, funds and also attract many doctors back to Nigeria,” the Minister said.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases in 2012

According to WHO, Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015. Globally, nearly 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. Yet, only 1 in 5 low- and middle-income countries have the necessary data to drive cancer policy

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