SPEECH BY H.E. MARGARET KENYATTA, THE FIRST LADY OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA, DURING A SPONSORS BREAKFAST MEETING FOR THE 9TH BREAST, CERVICAL AND PROSTATE CANCER CONFERENCE ON 6TH MAY, 2015 AT VILLA ROSA KEMPINSIKI HOTEL
Distinguished Guests,Ladies and Gentlemen,Good Morning,
It gives me great pleasure to be in such an important gathering, where we chart the way forward in the fight against cancer in Africa.
My office with the support of the Government of the Republic of Kenya and in conjunction with Princess Nikky Breast Cancer Foundation will host the 9th Stop Cervical Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa Conference (SCCA) at the KICC, Nairobi whose theme will be "Investing to save lives: The Role of Public-Private Sector Partnerships".
The Conference will bring together First Ladies, Parliamentarians, Ministers of Health, Health Professionals, Scientists, Advocates against cancer, Corporate entities and other relevant stakeholders.
Let us talk about CANCER. In Kenya, cancer ranks third as a cause of death, after infectious and cardiovascular diseases. It affects men, women and children alike.
We are losing 60 Kenyans per day to various versions of the disease – nearly 3 people each hour. These figures need to shock us and more importantly, they need to serve as a wake-up call to each one of us – no one is safe from the disease.
CANCERS are killing more people globally than HIV, TB and Malaria combined.
A key challenge in fighting the disease is late diagnosis; over 70% of the cases are detected in their far too late making management and recovery almost impossible. Lack of awareness among our people, inadequate health facilities where diagnosis and treatment can take place and the high cost of treatment are all prohibitive factors.
The 9th (SCCA) conference creates a platform where stakeholders from various sectors can come together and share experiences in the fight against CANCER.
As the host nation of this Conference, we must show our commitment to fighting cancer, a disease that is both a crippling and wasteful affliction that slowly kills its victims. Cancer is a burden on family resources and the nation’s healthcare infrastructure.
Cancer does not discriminate and has therefore affected us all in one way or the other. Through our kin, friends and countrymen, cancer has dealt us all a heavy blow. The young and old are all fair game in its sights and gender is not a factor in its ruthless wake.
My fellow Kenyans,
As a part of the global family, we must make hard decisions and say, “enough is enough.”
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.
This illness has had a heavy toll on our society and this largely due to dietary and environmental causes according to available medical data.
We have strayed from sound dietary regimes in which we consumed whole, nutritious and balanced foods in the past and have now made unwholesome and unhealthy foods a mainstay of our diets.
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.
We also need to keep our bodies moving with moderate to heavy exercise.We must stay vigilant through regular check-ups.
The national government recently purchased a large amount of medical equipment that will be very helpful in the fight against cancer.
Our people will greatly benefit when the equipment is fully deployed in our counties as it will ease the congestion at the few referral facilities that have these lifesaving equipment.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to the 9th SCCA conference scheduled from 19th to 21st July at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) in Nairobi.
It is crucial that we, as a continent, do all that we can to beat cancer before it becomes overwhelmingly unmanageable.
We anticipate that the 9th SCCA conference will contribute to strengthened collaborations in the fight against cancer and lead to better partnerships in cancer control for better health outcomes.
It is now my pleasure to invite all stakeholders and partners to contribute generously towards support of the 9th SCCA conference.
I THANK YOU.