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Lack of data ‘hurting war on cancer’

Texas centre oncologist calls for public-private partnership to help stem surging killer disease

Lack of current data on cancer is undermining  the fight  against killer disease, a city-based oncologist Dr Catherine Nyongesa has said.

She said the statistics being relied on for treatment and to help put other intervention measures in place to stem the disease are about two to three years old.

At the same time Nyongesa called for the public-private partnership to stem the surging disease.

Cancer is the third top killer disease in Kenya after pneumonia and malaria, with registered deaths standing at 16,953 last year, 1,191 more than in 2016, according to official data in the Economic Survey 2018.

“To reduce the rising cancer cases in Kenya, it requires early detection, quick treatment and care interventions but more importantly, we need enough facilities that are well equipped,” she said.

She was speaking during a ceremony to mark the eighth anniversary  of  Texas Cancer Centre (TCC).

Medical equipment

Dr Nyongesa, a director of the  centre, said it has not been an easy journey in making the TCC a reality. She said  the cost of medical equipment, building materials and land  have largely hampered the cancer hospital’s expansion and thus affecting efforts to tame the disease.

“Building the TCC Mbagathi Road hospital from a three-bedroom mansion in 2010 to a fully fledged treatment and care institution has been a costly undertaking,” said Nyongesa.

She said plans to expand the hospital have not been possible as the facility, expected to host 150 cancer patients, has only a 50-bed capacity.

“Building this centre has been expensive which we have done through loans. We have plans to expand but are unable. We are appealing to the government to step in and help us so that we can provide the required cancer treatment and care,” she added.

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