NAIROBI, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, on Tuesday launched a new public private partnership initiative to boost screening, treatment and management of breast cancer that kills 2,000 women in the country annually.
Speaking during the launch of the initiative in Nairobi, Kenyatta decried the rising breast cancer cases among women of reproductive age, and urged investment in infrastructure, research and personnel to help contain the disease.
"Strong and healthy women are the foundation of families and nations. Tragically, breast cancer has shortened the lifespan of our women and girls hence the need to combine efforts and fight the disease," Kenyatta said.
Kenya's ministry of health and British pharmaceutical giant, Roche Industries, are part of the new initiative to revitalize the war against breast cancer.
Kenyatta said this initiative will build on the recently launched national strategy for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in Kenya.
"We are committed to expanding access to prevention and treatment services for women with breast cancer. A partnership between government and industry is critical to ensure diagnostic services and medicine are available to patients at an affordable cost," said Kenyatta.
She added the African First Ladies have signed a pact to strengthen response to breast cancer in the continent through resource mobilization and community outreach.
The ministry of health and Roche Industries will roll out breast cancer awareness programs, upgrade diagnostic equipment, and train additional oncologists as part of the initiative to boost the war against breast cancer.
Cabinet Secretary for health, Cleopa Mailu, said the initiative will also entail drastic reduction in the cost of drugs for treating breast cancer patients.
"Both the ministry of health and Roche Industries have settled on a formula of ensuring all breast cancer patients in the country access quality medicine at minimal cost in public health facilities," Mailu remarked.
Kenya is part of Roche Industries Africa strategy launched in 2015 to revitalize the fight against breast cancer in the continent through public awareness, training of healthcare providers, investment in modern diagnostic equipment, and provision of affordable drugs.
The Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Region at Roche Industries, Markus Gemuend, said that industry has a critical role to play to ensure breast cancer patients have access to subsidized treatment and care.
"Our partnership with the ministry of health will ensure that breast cancer patients in Kenya have improved access to life saving medicines and quality care," Gemuend remarked. Enditem