The government has launched cancer screening guidelines aimed at promoting early diagnosis.
This is expected to reduce cancer deaths that currently stand at 33,000 every year.
The National Cancer Screening Guidelines were launched Monday during the World Cancer Day celebrations in Meru County.
Statistics indicate that more than 60 per cent of cancer patients are diagnosed at stage three or four when it is difficult to cure the disease.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, in a speech read on her behalf by Non-Communicable Diseases Division head Joseph Kibachio, said the guidelines will ensure standardised screening of all cancers to minimise cases of late diagnosis.
Ms Kariuki said the government is also supporting chemotherapy treatment centres in 10 counties and radiotherapy treatment centres in four regions to de-congest the Kenyatta National Hospital.
“We have launched a three-year ‘I am and I will’ campaign aimed at intensifying prevention of cancer. We urge the county assemblies to adopt the National Cancer Control Strategy 2017-2022, which is to help improve prevention, early detection, diagnosis, registration of patients and financing,” Ms Kariuki said.
Meru, she said, is among 10 counties that have received chemotherapy drugs and cervical cancer screening equipment to reduce the distances covered by patients.
Ms Kariuki called on counties to immediately adopt the new guidelines that provide a structured framework for screening cancer.
Dr Kibachio called for the setting up of wellness clinics to encourage screening.
“Our hospitals are designed to handle the sick and this discourages people to go for check-ups. We are encouraging counties to set up wellness clinics where healthy people can walk in and get served without queuing with the sick. We will support counties to set up the clinics,” he said.
Dr Kibachio said the government will soon launch a vaccination drive against cervical cancer targeting high school students.
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi said up to 3,000 people die from cancer in the county every year and pledged to increase resource allocation to fight the disease.
“We will soon have an oncologist to ensure more patients access treatment at Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital. With support from the national government and other partners, we will soon have a fully-fledged cancer treatment centre,” Mr Murungi said.