Breast Cancer drug offers reprieve for many patients
Category : Naya Blog
By Daniel Otieno, Nairobi
Friday, March 31, 2017, The Standard
Survivors of breast cancer now have a reason to smile as they receive their first free dose of medication from Kenyatta National Hospital. This is thanks to efforts by the Government and everyone who has been advocating for resource allocation for the treatment of cancer and other non-communicable diseases. As we make Herceptin, the breast cancer drug, more readily available, we must also focus on the sustainability of free cancer treatment. How? By encouraging competition in the medical field and ensuring that county governments have a greater role in training medical personnel.
The role of health workers in the implementation of free cancer treatment cannot be underestimated.We must motivate health workers through refresher training, good incentives and enabling environments that include the availability of screening equipment. In addition, young people, in particular, must be sensitized and motivated to adopt health conscious behaviors including early screening for cancer.
We must use this opportunity to implement school health policies that, among other things, target the elimination of non-communicable diseases including cancer among learners.The community must be educated on the benefits of seeking treatment early, healthy eating habits, physical activity and avoiding drug and substance abuse. Finally, the availability of cancer drugs should not stop with Kenyatta hospital but extend to other counties. We must also strengthen referral mechanisms to ensure that cancer survivors in other counties are able to seek specialized services in public health facilities. Sensitization should target everyone.