Campaign to fight cervical cancer launched in Kisumu – Kenya News Agency
The Africa Cancer Foundation, Matibabu Foundation and Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB), have launched a cervical cancer campaign for Kisumu County in an effort to raise awareness and decrease the prevalence of this deadly disease.
The campaign spearheaded by Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o’s spouse Dorothy Nyong’o targets to scale up cervical cancer screening in a long-term effort to eliminate the disease in the area by the year 2030.
Dorothy Nyong’o who is also the patron of the Africa Cancer Foundation said the disease which is preventable and treatable when detected yet it continues to ravage families in the area.
She explained that this was due to the high incidence of HIV/Aids within the region, claiming that the two diseases were interrelated.
“Cervical cancer is mostly sexually transmitted. We should not be shy but talk openly about this as we encourage our women to go for screening,” she said.
Speaking during the launch of the campaign at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu, Nyong’o who was accompanied by her counterparts Margaret Lusaka (Bungoma), Emily Nyaribo (Nyamira) and Agnes Ochillo (Migori) said the campaign shall be scaled up to cover the LREB comprising 14 counties.
The campaign, which is the only one of its kind in the region, coincides with the Kenya National Cancer Awareness Month which is celebrated in January.
Free screening services will be provided through the initiative. Medical personnel will also benefit from 25,000 pairs medical scrubs courtesy Matibabu Foundation.
Nyong’o said the medical personnel will be engaged as ambassadors of the campaign to create awareness about the disease in efforts to scale up screening and treatment.
“Through these efforts our target is to make this region the first to eliminate cervical cancer in the country by the year 2030,” she said.
As a preventive measure, Nyong’o called for intensive administration of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine to girls aged 10-14 years to lower the prevalence of the disease.
Gregory Ganda, Kisumu County Executive Committee member in charge of Medical Services, decried the low uptake of HPV vaccines which he said is crucial in the fight against this disease.
“It is unfortunate that despite the availability of this vaccine most of it just expires yet our girls are not vaccinated,” he said.
He said that efforts must be made to ensure that 90% of girls in the region get the vaccine to consolidate efforts to eradicate the disease.
“When diagnosed cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable forms of cancer as long as it is detected early and managed effectively,” he said.
Dr Ganda stated that Kisumu County was among the top counties for cervical screening. About 70% of women in the region were screened.
He estimated that the screening area screens approximately 30,000 of the 120,000 eligible women.
He explained that this was possible thanks to the efforts of Community Health Volunteers, and a digital platform-Community Health Information System (where all the screened women have been registered).
“Through the digital platform we know everyone by village and name. All those who have been screened are given a mark. We are getting very positive feedback through the system,” he said.
Because more than 50% of the cases are late diagnosed, cervical cancer ranks as the leading cause for female cancer deaths in Kenya.
By Jimmy Agoi and Adoyo Immaculate