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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vows
to step up cancer management efforts

by Chrispinus Omar NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed on Thursday that his government will step up interventions aimed at containing the growing cases of cancer-related deaths in the country.

Kenyatta, who chaired the cabinet meeting in Nairobi, said the government, working with partners, is putting in place measures including policy interventions that will help ease the burden of the cancer diseases on Kenyans.

His remarks came amid calls for the government’s intervention over the increasing number of cancer cases in the country which recently resulted in the death of two prominent Kenyans - Bomet County governor Joyce Laboso and Kibra member of parliament Ken Okoth.

"This is an issue that we need to take more seriously and galvanize all of us to come up with a solution both in preventive - which is most important - but also in helping fellow Kenyans to get treatment, and get it early for those already affected by the disease," said Kenyatta in a statement issued after the cabinet meeting.

According to Kenya’s health ministry, it is estimated that 47,887 new cases of cancer are detected and there are 3,200 new cancer cases among children below 18 years.

Infectious illnesses account for 13 percent of all deaths followed by cardiovascular diseases and cancer is the third leading cause of death contributing to 7 percent of deaths.


Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto [center] grieves with the family of the late Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto [center] grieves with the family of the late Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso at the Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi. Joyce Laboso, 58, died at a Nairobi hospital on Monday after a long battle with cancer. XINHUA PHOTO - FRED MUTUNE
Breast, cervical, esophageal, prostate and colorectal cancer are still the most common in the country, according to the health ministry.


Anti-tobacco lobby urges Kenya to curb rising cancer cases

by Peter Mutai NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A Kenyan anti-tobacco alliance on Monday called on the government to hasten programs aimed at reducing rising cancer cases in the country.

Joel Gitali, chairman of Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance, said that the government should not license nicotine products that are increasingly threatening lives of people.

"Nicotine-based products such as nicotine pouch should not be licensed in the country as it does not promote smoking cessation and reduction of cancer cases," Gitali told journalists in Nairobi.

"We need not rush to license these products and we must subject them to the existing policies that have proven effective in reducing tobacco use, including plain packaging and bans on flavorings," Gitali added.

Alfred Karagu, acting CEO of National Cancer Institute of Kenya, said that cancer cases have been in an upward trend in the past few months.

Karagu revealed that cancer kills a total of 33,000 Kenyans every year, adding that esophageal cancer is the leading killer.

"Some 4,380 people are diagnosed with esophageal cancer annually, and at least 4,351 die every year with only 29 survivals," Karagu added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) report on the global tobacco epidemic 2019 released last week warns of the possibility of tobacco industry interfering in tobacco cessation efforts through misinformation.

"There are real concerns about the risk these products pose to non-smokers who start to use them, especially young people.

"Unlike the tried and tested nicotine and non-nicotine pharmacotherapies that are known to help people quit tobacco use, we do not endorse e-cigarettes as cessation aids," says the report.

"Over the years, Kenya has made important steps in reducing the burden of cancer, by helping thousands of people quit tobacco and other nicotine-based products that cause harm," Gitali said.

The chairman noted that cigarette smoking is an important risk factor for esophageal cancer, and is the most important preventable cause of many cancers and cardiovascular diseases overall.


Late Kenyan Professor Wangari Maathai died from ovarian cancer



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