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First Lady Margaret Kenyatta delivers a keynote address at the opening of the inaugural virtual Inclusive Africa Conference 2020 on October 9/FILE/PSCU

Kenya

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta backs fight against cancer in counties

NANYUKI, Kenya Oct 28 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has assured of her continued support to ongoing initiatives to combat cancer at the county level.

In a message delivered by Beyond Zero Coordinator Angella Langat in Nanyuki during the launch of Empower Project cancer clinic, as part of the breast cancer awareness activities in the month of October, the First Lady committed to continue providing free cancer screening services during Beyond Zero Medical Safaris.

“Her Excellency commits to lend her voice and support to initiatives that will steer Kenya to reduce incidents of cancer and mortality as well as improve the quality of life of those who develop the disease,” Langat said.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta appreciated the cooperation she has continued to receive from County First Ladies who are championing causes that promote better health and wellbeing of women and girls in their respective counties.

She also commended the strong partnerships between her Beyond Zero initiative, County Governments and stakeholders in the health sector, noting that the collaborations have boosted delivery of health services to Kenyans at the grassroots level.

The Empower cancer Clinic, dubbed “Pink Room”, at the Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital is the 6th such facility to be constructed through the initiative of the County First Ladies Association to take cancer screening, detection and treatment closer to wananchi.

EMPOWER is an acronym that stands for Enabling and Motivating Partnerships Owned by Women who Engage and Reclaim their lives. It draws extensive membership from health advocacy institutions among them Beyond Zero, ROCHE, Women4Cancer, Africa Cancer Foundation and International Cancer Institute.

Speaking at the occasion where cancer survivors gave emotional testimonies of their journey with the disease, Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi expressed the need for more interventions to fight cancer similar to those dedicated to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“If you look at the Covid-19 pandemic and the number of deaths resulting from this disease compared to what has happened with cancer, you can see that the way we have been putting a lot of effort to slow down the Covid-19, we should do the same to slow down cancer,” Governor Muriithi said.

The Laikipia Governor said his administration has invested heavily towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, noting that over 60 percent of the population of Laikipia is covered by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

County First Lady Maria Mbeneka said the County First Lady Association, which she currently heads, will remain focused in delivering healthcare services to Kenyans especially in the fight against cancer.

Ms Mbeneka appreciated Beyond Zero for providing the roadmap in improving access to healthcare services to Kenyans through the mobile clinics and the Beyond Zero Medical Safaris.

On her part, Beyond Zero Coordinator Angella Langat pointed out that the investment in a clinic dedicated to providing screening, diagnosis and treatment of cancer complements First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s efforts in the provision of quality healthcare for Kenyans.

“By embracing the EMPOWER project, the County First Lady of Laikipia Madam Maria Mbeneka, who is also the current Chair of the County First Ladies Association has demonstrated her support for the National Cancer Control Strategy 2017-2022 that outlines broad areas of action along the cancer continuum and the roles that all actors can play therein,” Ms Langat said.

Other speakers included 14 County First Ladies, Roche Company Country Manager Frank Loeffler and International Cancer Institute Community Outreach Head David Kayode.

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