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Why cancer is killing more children in Kenya

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Only three out of 10 children diagnosed with cancer annually in the country survive, the cancer institute has revealed. Unlike in the developed world, the survival rate for children affected in Kenya ranges from 10 to 30 per cent, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Chief Executive Officer Alfred Karagu told The Standard in an interview.

Mr Karagu (pictured) noted that every year, up to 3,200 new cancer cases among children are diagnosed. Of these, 140 succumb to the disease. The survival rate in developed countries is over 80 per cent.Leukemia and lymphoma forms of cancer, Karagu said, are the most common.

They account for 16 and 14 per cent respectively of cancer deaths among children.Other forms that have proven to be top killers are kidney and brain tumours.“We have a problem with detection, especially at low-level health facilities yet a simple test like a blood count can tell if a child has cancer,” Karagu said.

Wrong diagnoses

He noted cases where children are routinely treated for aneamia, only to later be diagnosed with cancer. Karagu said this raises questions on how knowledgeable health workers are about the disease.He linked the dearth in cancer knowledge to lack of proper research, noting that out of 300 medical research papers published in the country annually, less than 10 address cancer among children.

Karagu further noted that lack of specialised facilities with a capacity to handle childhood cancer is also to blame.“Apart from the two main national referral hospitals (Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital) we do not have any other public facility that can adequately handle cancers among children,” he said.

Karimi Mutua, an expert in hematology oncology, said separately that children are at a lower risk of being diagnosed with cancer than adults and that is why much has not been done to fight childhood cancers.Dr Mutua noted that exposure to benzene and ionizing chemicals as well as certain genetic syndromes are the main causes of cancer in children.

“More than 95 per cent of the cancers we treat among children have no risk factors,” Mutua said.She noted that cancer symptoms among children are similar to other diseases, and lower level health workers should be keen to make detection.“We have met parents who say they have been to hospital several times without being told that their children are suffering from cancer,” Mutua said.

She also averred that up to 98 per cent of childhood cancers are treatable when diagnosed on time and the right treatment is administered.

By Standard


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Health

The Rate at Which Kenyan Teens Are Consuming Alcohol is Alarming!

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Even though the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act (2013) clearly states that; “No person holding a licence to manufacture, store or consume alcoholic drinks under this Act shall allow a person under the age of eighteen years to enter or gain access to the area in which the alcoholic drink is manufactured, stored or consumed,” a recent study shows that young people start consuming alcohol between the age 12 – 16 years. A bigger percentage of them receive their first drink from their friends, relatives and even parents.

‘When I look at that chair I see Shanty’ – Shanty’s mum mourns
But who cares? The bar owners need money, and young people want to have fun.

44.9% of them drink on special occasions, 32.9% on school holidays, 6.6% 2-3 times a week, 5.1% daily, 5.1% once a month, 3.3% every two weeks and 2.9% once a week.

BOY SCHOOLS ACCOUNT FOR THE HIGHEST UNDERAGE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION WHILE THE HABIT TENDS TO BE ALMOST EVENLY SKEWED BETWEEN THOSE THAT RECEIVE >3000 & <500 PER TERM AS POCKET MONEY. MINORS FROM SINGLE PARENT AND GRANDPARENT-LED FAMILIES ARE MORE LIKELY TO ENGAGE IN UNDERAGE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL
Courtesy NACADA/ Ipsos

-Mpasho


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Health

Kenyans Woman Spikes Lover’s Drink, Transfers Sh1.7mn From His Bank Account – police

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A woman has been arrested in the Kenyan coast after spiking his drink, and stealing Sh1.7 million from his bank account.

24-year-old Beatrice Mueni Mbiu had been on the run since September 8 when the incident occurred at a night club in Nyali, Kwale County.

“She took off alongside her two accomplices but we got her,” a DCI detective told Capital FM News, “she will be charged on Monday even as we seek the other two.”

The detective said the suspect had been positively identified by the victim.

According to police, the woman first spiked the man’s drink then stole his phone which she used to transfer Sh1.7 million from his bank account.

Detectives said they relied on the club’s CCTV images and footage to identify and trace the suspect.

Drink-spiking is common in night clubs frequented by commercial sex workers in major towns including Nairobi and Mombasa where they target both locals and foreigners.

-Capitalfm.co.ke


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Health

PS Kibicho reveals he contracted coronavirus

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Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho has revealed that he contracted coronavirus and recovered after undergoing treatment.

While addressing mourners in Kirinyaga County on Friday Dr Kibicho said Covid-19 is not a death sentence.

“I tested positive for coronavirus, but I was treated and discharged from hospital,” he said at Gathuthuini Primary School during the funeral service of a local church leader.

“I am a living example. Those who are suffering from the disease should not worry because they will get well,” he said, adding that out of 100 people who contract the disease in Kenya only two succumb to it.

Dr Kibicho advised Kenyans to be tested for the disease because it is curable.

“Kenyans should be tested to know their status so that they can be treated,” he said.

The PS also urged Kenyans not to stigmatise people who have contracted the virus.

“Covid-19 patients should be showed love and not rejection. When the patients are abandoned, they become depressed and may take longer to recover,” he said.

He also underscored the need for everyone to continue observing protocols issued by the Ministry of Health to control the spread of Covid-19.

“People should wear masks, sanitise regularly, wash their hands and avoid crowded places,” he said.

The PS further said that city residents should avoid travel during the holidays.

“If I had power, I would lock Nairobi during the festive season to curb spread of the dis-ease to rural areas,” Dr Kibicho said.


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