Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru on Monday revealed that one out of 10 deaths reported in the county is caused by cancer.
She said the situation is worrying and should be urgently addressed.
Speaking at Kerugoya Referral Hospital when she officially opened the first cancer centre in the area, Ms Waiguru said the disease is the second leading cause of premature deaths among non-communicable diseases in the area after cardiovascular ailments.
But she stressed that lives can be saved if early diagnosis is done.
The governor urged all Kirinyaga residents to embrace routine screening since many types of cancer can be managed and treated successfully if diagnosed at an early stage.
"Indeed, evidence shows that 40 per cent of all cancer deaths can be prevented if diagnosed early. The cancer screening services to be offered at this centre will supplement the Kerugoya Hospital mammogram machine for breast cancer screening and CT scan machine for early diagnoses of many types of cancer," she said.
Besides the regular clinical equipment, the county will have a cryotherapy machine which will be used to treat cervical cancer lesions.
"We are soon going to open the Kerugoya County Referral Hospital Complex which will also house a cancer inpatient unit with state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment facilities. My government will commit adequate budgetary provisions for essential supplies and human resources to ensure that the rising burden of cancer in Kirinyaga is reversed," she stated.
She was accompanied by her husband, Kamotho Waiganjo.
The governor noted that the health sector plays an integral role in the socio-economic development of the county and that is why her administration has invested heavily in infrastructural and service delivery reforms in many health facilities to ensure they have the capacity to provide affordable and quality healthcare.
She said a medical complex which is under construction will elevate Kerugoya Hospital from a level four to a level five facility.
The hospital will have an intensive care unit, high dependency unit and 345 beds — all fitted with piped oxygen — among other amenities.
Ms Waiguru said her administration has also built a modern laundry, kitchen unit and provided a modern incinerator befitting the new hospital.
"We are also in the process of opening about 19 dispensaries that we have been constructing in order to increase accessibility to primary healthcare across the county,” the governor said.
County Health Director George Karoki said they have embarked on vaccinating 32,000 young girls aged 14 years from the region against cervical cancer.
He asked parents to take their daughters to local health facilities for the vaccination.