Kisumu County has been marked as  among the counties with a high cancer disease burden hence needing targeted interventions.

In response, the Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary has announced that the government has instituted a host of reforms and established modern infrastructure to scale up the war on cancer disease in the country.

Among them is the establishment of a Comprehensive Cancer and Blood Disorder Centre at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH).

Speaking when he presided over the signing of a tripartite participation agreement between the National Ministry of Health, Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH), and the County Government of Kisumu on the establishment of the centre, CS Kagwe said, “Since Jan 2022, we have treated over 200 people who would otherwise have gone to India were it not for the fact that we have the integrated molecular centre at KUTRRH. This is the first time that we have replaced the issue of going to India with people being treated here,”

The CS said the project comes at a time when the Ministry of Health is implementing the National Cancer Control Strategy 2017-2022 which advocates for interventions across the cancer continuum of care, from diagnosis to cure.

“After infectious and cardiovascular diseases, this menace is now the third leading cause of death in Kenya with 42,117 new cases and 28,000 deaths annually. Cancer now accounts for 10% of our overall disease-related mortality which means, that there’s a high probability that each of us present today, knows someone who has succumbed to cancer, and a few who have faced & won the battle against it, like Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o”, CS Kagwe remarked.

“As evidenced by today’s events, the strategy also recognizes the decentralization of cancer management services to regional cancer centers as a key deliverable in line with the Universal Health Coverage agenda. It’s overall goal is to halt the burden of cancer,” CS Kagwe added.

The pact signing was witnessed by the stakeholders at the newly upgraded Level 4 Lumumba Sub County Hospital in Kisumu.During the event, CS Kagwe who was accompanied by Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o and National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) CEO Dr Peter Kamunyo also unveiled a plaque of the proposed radiotherapy centre at JOOTRH.

The Kisumu Comprehensive Cancer and Haematology Centre upon completion would offer radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a centre for treating blood disorders like sickle cell anaemia.

Prof. Nyong’o said that the realization of cancer and blood disorders centre in Kisumu would be a major step towards the realization of Universal Health Care. He said , “Kisumu County has set its eyes on revolutionizing cancer and blood disorders care for the lake region and Kenya as a whole – to offer quality and affordable essential cancer care,” .

The Health CS said the triple event of laying of a foundation plaque for the establishment of a comprehensive Cancer Centre in Kisumu, the opening of the Avant Garde Lumumba Sub-County Hospital and launch of the UHC scale up will transform the lives of all Kisumu residents.