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First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Kenya Ministry of Health and Roche Pharmaceuticals Limited launched key activities that will facilitate access to improved care for patients with breast cancer in Kenya. The launch builds on the country’s 2015-2020 National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases and represents a comprehensive approach to battling the disease.

The program also complements the campaign from the African First Ladies who are committed to expanding access to prevention and treatment services for women with breast cancer.

The public-private partnership’s planned activities include breast cancer awareness programs, improvements in screening and diagnostics, including the placement of a diagnostic instrument capable of advanced testing for seven types of cancer. Additionally, the collaboration will train five new oncologists and six oncology nurses, provide surgical oncology training, support the development of best practice national treatment guidelines and an increase the number of cancer treatment centers in Kenya.  Access to medicine will be made available patients seeking treatment at public institutions with the government of Kenya and Roche jointly covering the costs. The aim of these measures is to improve access to timely and precise diagnostic services and tailored cancer treatment to make cancer therapy much more effective.

Breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer in women in Kenya with more 50 percent of the cases presenting in women below the age of 50. This places their families and the economy at a great disadvantage. Every year approximately 4,500 patients are diagnosed with the disease and 2,000 patients lose their lives to this disease.  This burden reflects an increasing trend in the number of women being diagnosed with the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment could greatly reduce the burden of breast cancer and improve treatment outcomes.

The Kenya agreement is part of Roche’s Africa Strategy which began in 2015 in seven countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Angola, Ethiopia and Gabon.

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