Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital has launched the third edition of its Annual Cancer Walk event which raises funds for expanding the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer in children.
The walk, to be held on March 17, 2024, is part of Kenya’s pediatric Cancer Program, whose goal is to reduce pediatric cancer mortality. The walk will begin at Uhuru Gardens in Lang’ata and will provide two options, a 13-kilometer long circuit for adults and teenagers and a shorter 5-kilometre path for smaller children.
Speaking about the event, Dr. Robert Nyarango, CEO of Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, encouraged public participation to raise awareness and raise the much-needed funds to support the Hospital’s initiative and help to lower cases of preventable cancer deaths in children.
“Thousands of children are fighting cancer each year, yet many of them are unable to access diagnosis and therefore are not treated. In 2023, our Cancer Program helped more than 40 children access treatment at no cost to their families. With the help of participants this year, we aim to raise more funds to expand the program and reach over 1,000 children suffering from treatable cancers across the country,” said Dr. Nyarango.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer is a leading cause of death among children and adolescents globally. The WHO estimates that children in low and middle-income countries such as Kenya only have a survival chance of 30%, a stark contrast to the 80% recovery rate in higher-income countries.
In Kenya, it is estimated that childhood cancer incidence is approximately 3,000 new cases each year, according to figures from the Global Cancer Observatory (GLOBOCAN). The estimates are, however, thought to be significantly lower than actual figures due to a lack of awareness that leads to fewer confirmed diagnoses and reporting.
Dr Thomas Ngwiri, Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital Head of Clinical Services, noted that in addition to funding treatment, the cancer program also trains healthcare workers to identify symptoms and provide quality treatment as part of the multi-stakeholder approach to reducing cancer-related deaths among children.
Gertrude’s Hospital first held the cancer walk in 2019 and took a two-year break at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to resume in 2023.
Related Content: Top Trends To Shape Kenya’s Healthcare In 2024