Declare cancer national disaster, governors ask Uhuru

Saturday August 03 2019

Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso, Kibra MP Ken Okoth and Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore died of cancer in the month of July 2019. PHOTOS | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Governors have called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare cancer a national disaster.

Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya on Saturday said that as Kenyans come to terms with the death Bomet Governor Dr Joyce Laboso, Kibra MP Ken Okoth and Safaricom former CEO Bob Collymore, a chilling realisation was sweeping the country about their vulnerability to the disease.


"According to the latest report by the National Cancer Institute of Kenya, cancer is most prevalent in Kisumu, Kakamega, Nyeri, Nakuru, Bomet and Uasin-Gishu counties, " Mr Oparanya said in a statement.

The key challenge being the cost implication it has on the victims, Mr Oparanya said.

"Patients pay between Sh500 to Sh1, 000 per session for radiotherapy in state-run hospitals while chemotherapy costs Sh6, 000 to Sh600, 000, depending on the drug used. This is not achievable for the average Kenyan and we need to rethink these costs," the Kakamega governor said.


He said there was need to have a sober conversation about the country's healthcare system.

"I believe that the two levels of government must now consult and cooperate in coming up with various solutions to deal with this deadly monster, he said.


“In the same way we were able to find a workable solution to reduce the mortality rate of Kenyans living with HIV/Aids, we can do the same to defeat cancer,” Mr Oparanya said.

He said governors will miss Governor Laboso’s leadership.

“She (Dr Laboso) loved basic values of fairness, honesty, dignity, respect, leaving no one behind and understanding she was part of something much bigger than herself,” he said.

"Now her Excellency Laboso is going to take her rightful place in a long line of extraordinary leaders in this nation's history. In her time and in her way she stood for freedom and stood for liberty and made the Kenyan devolution story the most improbable and most hopeful and most enduring story,” he added.

President Kenyatta said that the government will increase funding on cancer management and build treatment centres to alleviate the suffering of people affected by the disease.

Mr Kenyatta said cancer specialists will also be trained and posted to work in the centres which will be upgraded to reduce the number of people seeking treatment abroad.