Turkana county government is targeting to screen at least 14,000 people this year as a key preventive strategy to step up response to the mounting threat of cancer.
This will be done through a routine facility-based screening.
The county’s Head of Non-Communicable Diseases Abdirahman Musa said that the threat has been sustained by locals with a widespread misleading notion that cancer is not a burden in the county, just because of lack of substantive data from the health department.
"The devolved unit is focusing on data and records to reveal evidence of cancer by reactivating one of the pillars in the National Cancer Control Strategy of 2017-2022 on prevention, early detection and screening of cancer," Mr Musa said.
He said common risk factors among locals include chewing tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.
He challenged locals to embrace cancer screening, noting that evidence has shown that five to 10 per cent of cancer cases are attributed to genetics but 90 to 95 per cent of the cases are attributed to behavioural factors and environmental risk factors that are actually preventable at an early stage.
Cervical cancer screening
Mr Musa said that most health facilities are offering cervical cancer screening and encouraged everyone, especially women of child bearing age, to embrace such services.
County Health Services Executive Jane Ajele, who on Wednesday launched cancer screening at Lodwar County and Referral Hospital (LCRH), said that the county government had already recruited an additional oncology specialist and introduced routine cancer management services at the facility.
"Besides establishing a fully functional renal unit at LCRH, we have purchased a mammogram machine and trained the x-ray team on basic cancer screening to serve the local population," Ms Ajele said.
She also said that the county has embraced the use of mentorship approach to institute continuous medical education and training on basic cancer management skills among its staff.