A Catholic NGO on Wednesday launched $589,786 (Sh70 million) three-year project to reduce the burden of breast and cervical cancers in Kitui.
Catholic Medical Mission Board country director James Kisia said they have partnered with their financier, Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, and the government.
“Ours is a perfect partnership of the three-legged African stool. We have the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation which provides the money, the NGO which agitates for change and government,” Kisia said.
He said that ultimately a cancer centre will be set up in Kitui.
Kisia said they are focusing on women and children because mothers are the pillars of the family and children the future.
He said the funding from the Bristol Foundation would be used in creating awareness on cancer, build the capacity, train people and put in the requisite infrastructure in Kitui.
The CMMB official encouraged the target population of 26,738 women to go for screening for early diagnoses and treatment.
County CEC for Health Dr Winnie Kitetu, who officially launched the project, lamented that cancer was causing many deaths worldwide despite being preventable.
“Cancer can be prevented if detected early and it can be cured. We only need to educate our community members and make them aware,” she said.
Kitui county oncologist Dr Mercy Kitony has said about 100 patients are served in the Kitui palliative and oncology unit every month.
“Of all the cancer cases we see, breast and cervical cancers account for more than 50 per cent of cases in women,” Kitony said.
“They are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality due to late diagnosis.”