Kenya secures 62 million shillings for North Rift liver cancer project
- The MTRH will receive specialized equipment in the surgical treatment of cancer, while surgeons, clinicians and technicians will be trained locally, in Peru and in Paris.
- Every year, about 920 Kenyans are diagnosed with liver cancer and 850 die from it, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.
- Medical staff will be trained in identifying risk factors and early diagnosis of liver cancer.
Kenya will soon begin performing delicate liver cancer surgeries at the Moi Referral and Teaching Hospital (MTRH) after three counties in the North Rift were selected for research and training in the disease which is causing many deaths in the region.
France is funding a project on liver cancer to the tune of 62 million shillings while Peru will train Kenyan specialists. The MTRH will receive specialized equipment in the surgical treatment of cancer, while surgeons, clinicians and technicians will be trained locally, in Peru and in Paris.
Every year, about 920 Kenyans are diagnosed with liver cancer and 850 die from it, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization. It ranks ninth among the deadliest cancers, due to the delay in diagnosis and the lack of specialists to treat the threat.
Dr. Fatma Some, a medical specialist at Moi University, said the studies carried out showed that “a large portion of our patients come from Uasin Gishu, Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.”
“They have a high prevalence of hepatitis B and have had outbreaks at times. We will now work with these counties to identify patients and develop a referral system. We also have patients coming to MTRH from other counties across the country who will be included,” she said.
The two-year project will focus on Baringo, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties, codenamed Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) in Western Kenya, due to the prevalence of the disease in these areas. Medical staff will be trained in identifying risk factors and early diagnosis of liver cancer.
Dr Some said Peru had identified an innovative way to treat huge tumors in advanced liver cancer, surgery which has been avoided here in Kenya due to the delicate nature of the organ, the risks associated with surgery and lack of equipment.
“The liver has a lot of blood supply, so the surgery is very delicate. It needs specialized equipment that we will be able to acquire through this project. Peruvian surgeons will transfer technology by training our surgeons in this technique that ‘they use to successfully excise huge tumors,’ she said at the signing of the grant agreement between the French Embassy and other stakeholders last Wednesday.
“We will have two surgeons trained in Peru, followed by further training of the surgical team and theater personnel in the field by the Peruvian surgical team during a return visit. Two lab technicians will travel to the famous Institut Pasteur in Paris for further training in advanced lab techniques,” she said.
Physicians, oncologists, pathologists and radiologists come from both Moi University and MTRH, which also partner with French researchers.
According to the Deputy Head of Cooperation and Attaché for Science and Higher Education at the French Embassy in Kenya, Dr. Mathieu Guérin, the project will equip health professionals with clinical skills to make early diagnoses of chronic diseases. liver.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs will finance the installation of innovative laboratory equipment intended to improve the monitoring and diagnostic capacities of chronic liver diseases at the MTRH where the project will be based.
The Institut Pasteur and the Peruvian National Cancer Institute (INEN) will provide the training.
If the project succeeds in taming deaths from liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), it will be replicated in other counties.
“The idea is to develop a kind of model that can be replicated in other counties and for that we will ask KEMRI to evaluate the project so that we can see what worked, what did not work , then after that it will be up to the Ministry of Health to decide whether or not they want to extend it to the rest of the country,” said Dr Guerin.
In Kenya, more than 60% of liver cancers in Kenya are associated with hepatitis B (HBV) infection.