The Ministry of Health held a screening day for the staff and their families at the ministry grounds.
The event held in preparation for the World Cancer Day to be celebrated on Tuesday February 2014 in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County saw over 500 members of staff screened alongside other members of the public.
In his speech, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health Professor Fred H.K. Segor said his ministry is promoting early detection because one third of cancers are curable if detected early and another third are treatable with prolonged survival if picked early.
“We want to lead from the front by starting with our ministry staff. It is time to take responsibility for our health.” He said.
Professor Segor said that early detection of cancer means looking out for warning signs such as swelling or lump in any part of the body, skin changes, prolonged cough or hoarseness of voice coupled with regular medical checks.
“Cancer screening services especially for cervical, breast and prostate cancers have been scaled up in all public health facilities. The Ministry of Health has equipped several county referral hospitals with colposcopies, CT scan, mammography and ultrasound machines.” Prof. Segor said.
In addition, he said that the National Referral Laboratory is now able to test for tumor markers for breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, pancreas, bile duct, colon and rectal cancer.
The Principal Secretary indicated that the government is committed to providing holistic cancer care and treatment through the national and regional referral health facilities.
“With palliative care being integrated in government hospitals across the country, cancer patients will be able to receive appropriate pain medication, control of distressing symptoms as well as getting psycho-social support.” Prof. Segor said.
He said that the ministry launched the National Cancer Treatment Guidelines last year to empower health workers to conduct screening of cancer cases and allow prompt referral and treatment.
“The passage of the Tobacco Control Act in 2007 and the Alcoholic Drink Control Bill in 2010 has ensured that the effects of tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol have been greatly reduced,” said Prof. Segor.
Present during the function were three cancer victors (Colon, prostate and breast) who shared their experiences with the staff present for the screening exercise.
Also present was Miss Kenya 2013, Wangui Gitonga, who encouraged the youth to get screened for early cancer detection that would lead to cure.
The event was organised by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations (KENCO).