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An additional 600 cancer specialists from Kenya will undergo training in the next four years in a move aimed at improving local capacity to diagnose and treat the disease.
The programme also intends to boost the capacity to diagnose neurological disorders.
“The focus will be on early detection, research and treatment of cancer and neurological disorders in areas where access to qualified professionals remains a challenge,” said EADB director-general, Vivienne Yeda.
Ms Yeda was speaking during the launch of the programme in Nairobi. She said that the region has for a long time failed to prevent and treat the cancer scourge because of lack of skilled doctors.
In July, the Aga Khan University Hospital, for instance, entered into a deal with the Uganda Cancer Institute to provide over 400 cancer patients from Uganda with free radiotherapy treatment.
This comes at a time when the global number of cancer cases is expected to balloon by 75 per cent in the next two decades, according to the World Health Organisation cancer research.
With less than 20 oncologists against a swelling population of over 42 million people, Kenya loses over 50 people daily to various forms of cancer.
Ms Yeda said that they hope to equip doctors in sub-county hospitals across East Africa with skills to effectively diagnose cancer and neurological disorders to facilitate early interventions either at the point of contact or by referral for advanced medical care.
“The East African Community with a population of over 135 million has great economic potential, but non-communicable diseases are a major threat to this region’s quest to achieve socio-economic development,” she said.
The medics will undergo a series of five-day residential training courses in neurology and oncology to be delivered by regional and UK faculty.
This will be complemented by a two-year specialist academic and clinical training in the UK for 20 of high cadre doctors in the two disciplines.
The British Council regional director for sub-Saharan Africa, Mandy Johnson said the partnership brings global expertise into the region and will lead to a rich exchange of skills, expertise and experience.
– Business Daily