Machakos governor, Wavinya Ndeti has decried the rising cases of new cancer infections in Machakos County even as she outlined her government’s intervention in containing the killer disease.
Addressing the media at the Machakos Cancer Care and Research center domiciled at the Machakos level 5 referral hospital, Wavinya said her administration will deploy preventive measures and massive screening to detect infections at early stages for proper management.
“Machakos County has experienced a rising cancer burden which is now putting pressure on the populations and health systems. In 2022 alone, 465 patients were diagnosed with cancer in the county, with Mwala Sub County leading in the number of infections with 54 cases reported,” said the governor.
In Machakos County, according to the governor, breast cancer was the most prevalent among women with prostate cancer reported prominently among men.
She attributed the high prevalence in Mwala to the rampant pollution of River Athi, whose heavily contaminated water has been the major source for domestic consumption among thousands of residents downstream.
“The high cases in Mwala Sub County are linked to the pollution of Athi River, where industries and other commercial establishments have been discharging effluents into the river leading to heavy contamination. We have put on notice the offenders that they risk closure or prosecution,” said Wavinya.
The governor revealed that President William Ruto has established a taskforce that will review the extent of pollution and initiate a cleanup exercise of the river in order to make the water safe for human and livestock consumption.
Wavinya noted that her government was focusing more on conducting health education and awareness on cancer through public health officers as well as Community Health Volunteers (CHVS). She said the Machakos cancer laboratory, the only one of its kind in the lower Eastern region, was a major asset for the health department’s campaign against the disease.
“Through the laboratory in the Machakos Cancer Care and Research center, we have been able to make early diagnosis and testing of patients. This has increased our rate of detection of cancer by 30 percent,” she said.
The governor revealed that some 1300 women had benefited from free cancer screening in the month of January alone. “Out of these, 25 women were found to have cervical cancer. But I am happy to report that these women have more than 90 percent chance of getting cured,” she said.
She went on, “At Machakos cancer care and research centre, patients can now get most of the services here without having to travel to Nairobi or even India to seek cancer treatment and management. We are engaging the national Government and other partners to help us subsidize the cost of cancer treatment and increase the deployment of oncologists to cancer centers.”
The governor later received a consignment of ventilators donated by Malteser International at her White House office in Machakos.
She said the respiratory aiding machines will be distributed to Intensive Care Units (ICUs), theatres, ambulances and general wards across healthcare facilities in the county.
“We will be able to provide more medical support to our patients and reduce further the need to transfer them to other facilities either within our county or outside for ventilator services. We have improved our ability to give the required emergency care that may be required within a short time,” she said.