The Need To Arrest The Rising Cases Of Childhood Cancer

by Business Watch Team
Childhood Cancer

Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital has called for collective action to fight against childhood cancer, noting that 80% of cases are treatable when detected early.

While it is estimated that there are 3,200 new cancer cases in children, in Kenya, every year, the number could be much higher because of underdiagnosis and under-reporting.

Speaking during the hospital’s third annual cancer walk on Sunday, 17 March, the Hospital’s CEO, Dr. Robert Nyarango, called for urgent investment in childhood cancer diagnosis and treatment, emphasizing the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach to combating the disease.

“The fact that so many cases go without diagnosis and so many children die without accessing treatment should drive all of us to participate in initiatives that help mount a strong defense against cancer in children,” Dr. Nyarango said. “We are grateful for the big turnout at the walk because it demonstrates Kenyans’ concern for their children and emphasizes the importance of a coordinated fight against childhood cancer. Each individual and organization participating in the walk has increased our ability to save lives and alleviate suffering in many families across the country.”

This year’s walk attracted major sponsors, including Zamara, who was the title sponsor for the second year running, as well as over 2,000 participants from families, corporate entities, and government agencies.

Sundeep Raichura, Group CEO of Zamara, reiterated Zamara’s eagerness to support the walk and large community engagements that help make healthcare more accessible and affordable to everyone across the country.

“It is an honor to support such a good cause as we join efforts to alleviate unnecessary suffering by bringing lifesaving diagnosis and treatment to children who would have otherwise gone without. We are always keen on supporting such initiatives that improve the health and well-being of Kenyans,” said Mr Riachura.

The Kenya Childhood Cancer Program, which launched in 2019, supports cancer diagnosis and treatment in children, as well as the training and upskilling of healthcare workers. The program has already trained over 200 healthcare workers across the country, providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to identify cancer symptoms in children and provide lifesaving treatment.

On his part, Dr. Thomas Ngwiri, Head of Clinical Services at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, thanked participants and sponsors while emphasizing the critical need to prioritize cancer diagnosis and treatment in Kenya.

“Each year, thousands of children suffer and die from cancer due to a lack of access to diagnosis and treatment. In addition to raising funds that will go a long way toward assisting some of the most vulnerable children, the participants were able to spend the day bonding and engaging in activities with their families,” said Dr Ngwiri.

Thousands of people attended the third annual Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital Family Cancer Walk, which is part of the Kenya Childhood Cancer Program, which aims to reduce childhood cancer mortality. Participants were given the option of running a 13-kilometre circuit along the Southern Bypass or a shorter 5-kilometre trail.

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: We Need To Close The Cancer Care Gap Before It Is Too Late

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