Kenya will have its first comprehensive cancer diagnostic and treatment centre in 2017 if everything goes as planned.
This means that the 10,000 Kenyans who seek cancer treatment in either India or South Africa at a cost of Sh 10 billion (dollars 100,000) annually will be treated right here in Kenya
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta today performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the proposed Sh 2 billion Tesla Cancer Hospital at Ridgeways, Nairobi.
The proposed landmark medical facility will be a specialized State-of-the-Art Cancer hospital, the first of its kind in East and Central Africa.
The hospital will incorporate diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients, surveillance and research. The facility will also establish a foundation through which deserving but under-privileged cancer patients will be taken care of.
“I applaud the effort, devotion and dedication made by Tesla Cancer Hospital in coming up with this state-of-the-art facility that will go a long way to supplement the services being offered by other cancer treatment centres in the country”, said the First Lady.
The proposed Tesla Cancer hospital plans to provide the most modern diagnostic facilities such as cyclotron, the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. Cyclotron, is currently only available in Egypt, Morocco and South Africa.
“Cyclotron technology will contribute to a more targeted and accurate cancer diagnosis. The availability of such advanced technology in cancer care and treatment is also bound to promote regional medical tourism while reducing the number of Kenyans having to travel abroad to access cancer treatment services”, said the First Lady.
She described the new facility as a welcome addition to existing cancer treatment facilities.
“This ground-breaking ceremony of the 2 billion shilling cancer facility is therefore a welcome addition to the growing number of public-private partnerships that are increasingly investing in cancer diagnostic and treatment facilities”, added the First Lady.
The facility is a partnership between local entreprenuers and the General Electric.
The First Lady said the Government is ready to partner and support all entrepreneurs interested in investing in the country’s health sector.
She underscored the important role of the private sector in complementing Government efforts in the fight against some of the non-communicable diseases including cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular complications currently on the rise in the country.
“It is through such vibrant partnerships that we will be able to deliver quality and transformative medical care for our country and region as a whole”, she said.
The First Lady said the rising burden of cancer is attributed to risk factors that are influenced by improved incomes, rapid urbanization and unhealthy lifestyles such as tobacco use, consumption of unhealthy diets, insufficient physical activity and excessive consumption of alcohol.
“The growing cancer burden is a major public health concern. It has significant social and economic implications in terms of health care needs, lost productivity and premature death”, she said
She said the rising burden of these non-communicable diseases is a serious setback to the attainment of our social, economic and developmental targets.
“ Evidence shows that up to 60 per cent of those who die from cancer are in the most productive years of their lives”, said the First Lady.
She however said that despite the many challenges the country faces against the fight against cancer, the government is doing everything possible to address the burden.
“The enactment of the Cancer Prevention and Control Act 2012 and the establishment of the National Cancer Institute are some of the commitments by the Government in this regard”, she said
Additionally, said the First Lady, the Government has invested 38 billion shillings to equip 98 health facilities across all the 47 counties with high-end medical equipment that will contribute to improved cancer diagnosis.
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with County Governments is also spearheading an initiative that will see the establishment of a number of regional cancer treatment centres , added the First Lady
Among those accompanying the First Lady at the function were Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, Director of Medical Services, Dr Nicholas Muraguri, General Electric Healthcare , Eastern Africa region, Isaiah Okoth and the chairman of Tesla Cancer Hospital Dr. Daniel Githegi.