Over 3000 new cases of cancer are reported in Kenya every year and half of these result in death, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said Wednesday evening.
She said her office is partnering with various stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, the private sector, civil society, religious organizations and the media to support cancer prevention and treatment programs in the country.
The First Lady said the war against cancer lies in healthy lifestyles, early diagnosis and treatment to prevent more deaths and the cost of treatment.
She regretted that Africa has some of the highest cervical cancer incidences and mortality rates in the world adding that the continent’s high HIV prevalence amongst women also increases both the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer.
The First Lady spoke at State House, Nairobi, where she launched the 9th Stop Breast, Cervical and Prostrate Cancer in Africa Conference (SCCA) to be held in Kenya between July 19-20 this year. She also unveiled and official website for the initiative.
Mrs Kenyatta called on all First Ladies in Africa to use the powers of their respective offices to galvanize action and mobilize resources against all types of cancers that continue claiming hundreds people in the continent.
She said the action by the First Ladies can lead to the attainment of universal access to screening, treatment and care for all cancers in women, men and most importantly, in children.
“As First Ladies of Africa, we must use the convening power of our offices to intensify advocacy and galvanize action towards attainment of adequate human, technical and financial resources”, said the First Lady.
The launch ceremony was attended by among others , the First Lady of Namibia Madam Penehupifo Pohamba, several ambassadors and High Commissioners.
The First Lady said people in the developing world especially Africa are experiencing the dual burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases such as cancer.
Describing cancer in Africa as a crisis, Mrs Kenyatta said the annual SCCA conference has now become a recognized platform for empowering a regionally connected community’s response in the fight against breast, prostate and cervical cancers in the continent.
During the forthcoming SCCA conference at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), delegates from Africa will discuss concrete measures to ensure the continent is free from all preventable illnesses.
The theme of the conference will be: “ Investing to save lives, the role of public, private sector partnerships”
The last SCCA conference was held in Windhoek, Namibia last year where the First Ladies pledged to collaborate with the private sector, multi-lateral and bilateral partners to ensure availability of technical and financial support in the prevention, control and treatment of cervical, prostrate and breast cancers.