By Irene Gaitirira
Published August 17, 2016
A public-private partnership (PPP) aimed at improving care of women with breast cancer has been launched in Kenya.
The collaboration, that brings together Kenya’s Ministry of Health and Roche Pharmaceuticals, is anchored on the eastern African country’s 2015-2020 National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases.
Launching the initiative, Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta, Kenya’s First Lady, said it will not only facilitate access to improved care for patients with breast cancer but will also complement the campaign from the African First Ladies who are committed to expanding access to prevention and treatment services for women with breast cancer.
The PPP’s planned activities include breast cancer awareness programmes, and improvement in screening and diagnostic procedures. Additionally, a diagnostic instrument for testing for seven types of cancer, training of five new oncologists and six oncology nurses, and an increase in the number of cancer treatment centres across Kenya shall be put in place.
The aim being to of these measures is to improve access to timely and precise diagnostic services and tailored cancer treatment to make cancer therapy much more effective, the government of Kenya and Roche are expected to jointly cover the costs of medication that will be made available to every patient.
Observing that “Strong, healthy women are the foundation of families and of our country,” Mrs Kenyatta lamented that the lives of these women are “threatened by a disease that we must catch early. Many women are being diagnosed with breast cancer too late and are dying needlessly when there are treatments that could save their lives.”
Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer in women in Kenya with more than 50% of the cases presenting in women below the age of 50. Some 2000 women out of the 4500 diagnosed with the disease die every year.
Roche says its current agreement with Kenya is part of its Africa Strategy which began in 2015 in seven countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Angola, Ethiopia and Gabon. Roche says it is implementing a wide selection of activities in collaboration with local partners based on the needs and capabilities of each country.