, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 24 – President Mwai Kibaki on Tuesday assented to five Bills key among them the Cancer Prevention Bill 2012 that was passed in Parliament a month ago.
The Bill seeks to increase access to cancer treatment and care.
It also establishes a National Cancer Institute that will encourage and secure establishment of hospitals, vocational treatment and care centres for treatment and care of cancer patients.
The law will help decentralise cancer treatment facilities and train more oncologists.
Cancer is rapidly becoming a major epidemic in Kenya often leading to death due to expensive treatment and lack of a proper health system.
It ranks third among the main causes of death in Kenya after infectious and heart related diseases with an estimated 82,000 reported cases annually.
Last year, an estimated 22,000 people died of various cancers in the country.
A policy brief on the situational analysis of cancer in Kenya done in 2011 by the department of research, an arm of the Parliamentary Service Commission cites Inadequate facilities, few specialists, high cost of treatment, lack of accessibility to treatment, sedentary lifestyle, lack of cancer awareness, social inequity and unreliable cancer registry as the factors that were backtracking the fight against cancer in Kenya.
It stated that the most common type of cancers in Kenya were breast and cervical for women while men were more affected by the cancer of the oesophagus, neck and prostate.
In children, the most common were blood cancers -Leukaemia and Lymphomas.
Other bills that the president approved are the County Governments’ Bill 2012, the Public Service Commission Bill 2012, the Public Financial Management bill and the National Authority for Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Bill.