By Gilbert Ochieng (20/6/2023)

Busia Governor Dr. Paul Otuoma’s Government will continue to offer support towards the management of cancer, the Health Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Health and Sanitation Beatrice Nakholi said. 

Nakholi said the leadership of the County through the Department of Health is committed to providing services to cancer patients as well as survivors.

 “We want to ensure that cancer patients and survivors are given priority, especially on various matters including bursaries and enrollment for the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF),” Nakholi said.

She spoke at the Busia County Referral Hospital (BCRH) during the commemoration of National Cancer Survivors Day which is marked on the first Sunday of June annually. 

She further disclosed that some partners from Australia have expressed interest in setting up a cancer center for children in Busia County.

Photo by Gilbert Ochieng: Participants during the cancer survivors’ celebration at Busia County referral hospital 

Nakholi emphasized the need for residents to register with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). 

She said the Department of Health recognizes Busia Hospice and other partners including Dumisha Afya and MTRH for supporting the management of cancer in the County.

The Director of Health Dr. Melsa Lutomia said the presence of cancer survivors confirms that the Ministry of Health is working towards halting and reversing the rising trends of non-communicable diseases. 

“Twenty years ago cancer was seen as a death sentence. But because of (advancements) in science and treatment, we are able to have many survivors,” said Lutomia.

She encouraged the survivors to be awareness ambassadors at the grassroots level by sharing their experiences, and the importance of early diagnosis in saving lives.

“Screening for cervical cancer is ongoing in health facilities as well as vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) among 

girls aged 10-14 years. Prostate cancer screening is also being done for those above 40 years,” added the Director.

Cancer survivors who attended the event urged the County Government to strengthen cancer services to reduce the cost of medication and transport.

“We appreciate the supportive care offered by the health personnel who have walked the journey with us,” said Leah Achieng, whose 11-year-old son is a survivor.

Cancer of the cervix, esophagus, and breast are among those that are common in Busia County according to the data from the oncology unit.

The unit which supports more than 60 cancer patients has seen an overwhelming rise in the number of those streaming in for diagnosis, staging, and linkage to care.

The event was also attended by the County Coordinator for Non-Communicable Diseases Grace Midambo, the County TB and Leprosy Coordinator Mary Asoyong and BCRH Administrator David Sibeyo.