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Kenya seeks IAEA help on cancer

VIENA, Austria, Sept 16 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has requested the incoming Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA, Yukiya Amanoto to help set up a major cancer treatment facility in Nairobi that will serve Kenya and the region.

The VP said cases of cancer were rising rapidly in Kenya and facilities for early diagnosis and treatment were urgently needed to prevent deaths.

Mr Musyoka told the IAEA boss to also consider taking on board some Kenyans to work at the Secretariat, since Kenya and Africa were under represented in the world body.

The VP spoke when he met the IAEA boss at his office in Vienna Austria.

Dr Jotham Micheni, the Director of the Kenyatta National Hospital said there is a looming cancer epidemic in Kenya with people suffering from the disease expected to reach 82,000 per year, out of which only 6,000 are able to access treatment.

"Because of HIV/AIDs and changing lifestyles, the cases of people developing cancer are taking on epidemic proportions," Dr Micheni said.

He acknowledged that already IAEA has donated cancer treatment equipment worth Sh100 million and more funding was expected from the Agency.

Minister for Higher Education Dr Sally Kosgei urged the IAEA to help Kenya in the quest to generate nuclear power for peaceful use.

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Mr Musyoka said Kenya’s Vision 2030, which envisages Kenya being a newly industrialised country in 20 years time, could only be realised if the country can access affordable and reliable energy.

Mr Amanoto pledged support for setting up of a Centre for Excellence in Nairobi for cancer treatment.

The Director-General also promised training for Kenyan cancer specialists.

He said it was important for developing countries to be able to generate nuclear power for peaceful use.

"How can developing countries grow their economies without an affordable and reliable source of energy? This should not be a preserve of rich countries," said Mr Amanoto.

He said countries like Kenya will need about four years to make adequate preparation before going nuclear.

"You need to enact laws, train personnel, and construct facilities, enter into relevant agreements before finally getting the capacity to go nuclear," he said.

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