First Lady Margaret Kenyatta today urged Kenyans to adopt lifestyles and eating habits that strengthen their immunity systems to be free from Cancer.
The First Lady said most Kenyans have strayed from past sound dietary regimes where nutritious and balanced foods were consumed and made unhealthy foods a mainstay of lifestyles.
“We must now return back to our roots and re-introduce into our diets healthy foods such as sweet-potatoes, arrow-roots, yams cassava and boiled foods,” she added.
The First Lady spoke at Kempinsiki Hotel, Nairobi during a breakfast meeting she hosted for sponsors of the 9th Breast, Cervical and Prostate Cancer Conference (SCCA) to be held in Kenya later in the year.
She also stressed the need for exercises to give the body a fighting chance against cancer. People should feel encouraged to go for regular check-ups to improve the chances of diagnosing and treating the disease during initial stages.
“We must collectively fight this monster head on. We must do so through a combination of lifestyle changes and other interventions aimed at driving progress in cancer research. We must also be vigilant through regular check-ups,” the First Lady said.
Regretting the continued rise of Cancer nationally and globally, the First Lady said the fact that 60 Kenyans lost their lives daily to the disease should serve as a wake-up call to ‘all of us’ to lower the mortality rate.
“In Kenya, cancer ranks third as a cause of death, after infectious diseases and heart problems,” she added.
The First Lady said treatable cancers are killing more people globally than HIV, TB and malaria combined.
She cited late diagnosis caused by lack of awareness and inadequate health facilities and high cost of treatment as key challenges in management and recovery of cancer patients.
The First Lady said the 9th SCCA Conference, Kenya is hosting between 19th and 21st July, will seek to promote cancer prevention, early detection, improved diagnosis and treatment including palliative care.
The Conference, whose theme is “Investing to save lives: The role of Public-Private Sector Partnerships”, brings together First Ladies, Parliamentarians, Ministers of Health, Health Professionals, Scientists, Advocates against cancer, corporate entities and other relevant stakeholders.
The National Government, the First Lady said, has also purchased a large consignment of medical equipment to the counties to decongest referral hospitals.
She was optimistic that SCCA conference will strengthen collaborations in the fight against cancer and lead to better partnerships for healthier outcomes.
Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia asked private doctors to consider encouraging their cancer clients to seek treatment in local centers instead of referring them to hospitals abroad.
Mr Macharia said referring cancer patients to foreign hospitals reduced traffic at the local cancer centres and therefore made treatment expensive.
“Have faith in yourselves and refer cancer patients to local cancer centres. The cost of cancer treatment in India has been made cheaper by the large traffic of patients,” the CS said.