In a groundbreaking moment on Thursday, November 30, 2023, the County Government of Kitui proudly inaugurated the Phangisile Mtshali Cancer Centre at the Kitui County Referral Hospital. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the unwavering commitment of Governor Dr. Julius Malombe’s administration to prioritize the health and well-being of the Kitui people.
The Phangisile Mtshali Cancer Centre stands as a beacon of hope, equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment facilities. A joint effort between the county government and the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), with support from the Bristol‐Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF) and the National Cancer Institute, this full-fledged cancer care facility aims to address the growing global burden of cancer.
*Deputy Governor Augustine Kanani, delivering Governor Malombe’s speech during the inauguration, emphasized the significance of the cancer center in the collective fight against cancer. He highlighted its role in bringing essential medical services closer to home, eliminating the need for residents to endure long and arduous journeys for crucial care.
The Deputy Governor underscored the global impact of cancer, citing World Health Organization statistics that revealed 19.3 million new cases and 10 million cancer-related deaths globally in 2020. In low and middle-income countries, where resources for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are often limited, the burden is particularly significant.
*Kitui County has not been immune to this challenge, recording an upward trend in new cancer cases since 2018. Deputy Governor Kanani shared that out of 958 reported cases, cervix, breast, and prostate cancers are the most prevalent. However, he offered a message of hope, emphasizing that early detection through regular cancer screening can make cancer a curable condition.*
Highlighting the county’s commitment to cutting-edge medical services, DG Kanani announced the adoption of Telemedicine, specifically through the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) program. This technology connects specialists and patients globally, turning the world into a global village. The cancer center, linked to national, regional, and global centers of excellence, is set to benefit from this transformative initiative.
The sustainability of the cancer center is a top priority for the Kitui County administration. DG Kanani assured the availability of specialized officers, allocated funds for daily operations, and the procurement of drugs and medical supplies.*
CMMB President Mary Beth Powers echoed the importance of early screening, emphasizing that cancer is not a death sentence. She pledged CMMB’s dedication to improving healthier lives worldwide, expressing enthusiasm for the fertile ground of partnership in Kitui.*
*As Kitui County embraces this transformative healthcare initiative, the Phangisile Mtshali Cancer Centre stands as a testament to what can be achieved through collaboration, dedication, and a shared commitment to the well-being of the community.*
In delivering “The Kitui County Promise,” the administration reaffirms its dedication to quality, affordable healthcare for the Kitui people, marking this inauguration as a significant step towards a healthier future.