Hundreds of Nakuru County residents last week benefited from a free cancer screening exercise organised by Nakuru Hospice in partnership with the County Government of Nakuru, Amref Health Africa in Kenya and Novo Nordisk.
The five-day screening which started on October 16 under the theme: "Screening and early detection saves a generation”, was graced by Her Excellency the county’s First Lady Elizabeth Kinyanjui.
Among targeted in the exercise included reproductive cancers – cervical, prostate, and breast.
Speaking during the launch, Ms Kinyanjui said: “The whole world recognises that cancer is a very aggressive disease. But we also recognise that it needs not be a killer disease if the right interventions are made at the right time.”
Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide accounting for 13% of all global mortality. In Kenya, it is the second leading non-communicable diseases-related deaths after cardiovascular diseases.
Ms Kinyanjui noted that detection of the disease at its early stages is the greatest weapon in fighting it.
“To reduce cancer-related deaths, just as immunisations, cancer screening ought to be made mandatory,” she said.
The First Lady thanked Amref Health Africa in Kenya for the overwhelming support in the fight against the disease.
The Director of Health System Strengthening programme at Amref Health Africa Dr Elizabeth Wala said: “Since prevention is vital in the fight against cancer, we have partnered with the county and other partners to bring lasting health change in the region.’’
For 33-year-old Teresiah Njeri, one of the beneficiaries of the free screening, she felt relieved after undergoing the test.
“I am glad that I have been declared free from the disease. It was an eye-opener for me. I will make every effort to tell my neighbours to get screened,’’ she said.
“I didn’t know I was at risk of getting cancer until the doctors explained to me.”
Njeri was among the over 509 women screened for cervical and breast cancer.
The examination performed by physicians and nurse practitioners saw over 509 men screened for cancer.
The camp also offered other services including, screening for diabetes, high blood pressure as well as counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS. Amref Health Africa in Kenya has had a longstanding partnership with Nakuru County and will strengthen this further through the expansion of the Healthy Heart Africa project in the county.
The project funded by AstraZeneca targets to screen 600,000 and treat 18,000 and residents of Nakuru County respectively in a period of three years (2017-2020).