Cancer Taskforce Proposes Changes To Ease Disease Burden

Cancer is the leading cause of deaths in Kenya and a major contributor to the impoverishment of affected individuals and their families.

The national cancer task force is recommending a wide range of initiatives that, in its opinion, will allow the nation to effectively address the threat posed by cancer. 

The task force recommended improvements to service delivery, the health workforce, health products and technologies, health information and research, as well as adequate funding and a strong leadership and governance framework, in a report delivered to health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Wednesday. 

The Taskforce’s chair, Dr Mary Nyangasi, claimed that the nation needed to make strategic investments to protect Kenyans from the negative effects of the rising incidence of cancer on their health and economy.

The Health CS said in a statement after receiving the report that the recommendations should give the nation a platform to tackle the cancer burden, which continues to be a contributor to disease burden and financial catastrophe for many households and communities.

At the same time, he emphasized the need to involve all relevant parties, including the council of governors, to ensure agreement and the effective implementation of the recommendations. 

The task force has noted a number of holes in the nation’s cancer care delivery model in its report. One of the recommendations is to implement the hub-and-spoke model of cancer management by establishing a cancer centre of excellence that will serve as the nation’s hub for clinical care, research, and training.

The task force also wants the national cancer institute of Kenya (NCI-K) operationalized through the development of relevant regulations and enabling instruments for the employment of competent personnel to deliver on its mandate.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Kenya and a major contributor to the impoverishment of affected individuals and their families.

The ministry of health recognized the need to address the growing challenges resulting from cancer and appointed a National Cancer Taskforce in May 2021.

The task force was tasked with reviewing the current institutional framework for cancer management and assess the human resource capacity, technologies, medical products and infrastructure for cancer.

The team was also expected to analyse local actors and stakeholders as well as global best practices in cancer care, review the adequacy of existing legal and policy instruments for cancer response and recommend strategic interventions to reform the delivery of cancer services across the country.