Combating Cancer in Kenya

Partnership objectives

1) Strengthen initiatives to combat cancer in Kenya

2) Collaborate with partners to ensure all cancer patients receive medicines and care

Early diagnosis and treatment could greatly reduce the burden of breast cancer and improve treatment outcomes. Early diagnosis and treatment could greatly reduce the burden of breast cancer and improve treatment outcomes. Copyright Roche Group

What are the health needs and challenges?

Cancer is one of the greatest health challenges of our time, and a leading cause of death in every corner of the world. Without preventative measures, the disproportionate majority of mortality from cancer will occur in low-and middle-income countries where there is limited availability of screening, early detection and access to treatment.  Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in Kenya and the leading cause of cancer in women. Every year approximately 4,500 patients are diagnosed with the disease and 2,000 patients lose their lives to this disease. Although it occurs in both men and women, more than 90 percent of the cases present in women, with more than 50 percent of the cases presenting in women below the age of 50. This places their families and the economy at a great disadvantage. Early diagnosis and treatment could greatly reduce the burden of breast cancer and improve treatment outcomes.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

In August 2016, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, the Kenyan Ministry of Health and Roche launched a public-private partnership to strengthen initiatives to combat cancer in Kenya. This is the first of two memorandums of understandings Roche has signed in Kenya. The second, with the newly Beth Mugo Cancer Foundation, was signed in October 2016.

Access to medicine will be made available to patients seeking treatment at public institutions with the government of Kenya and Roche jointly covering the costs. The aim is to ensure breast cancer patients have access to timely diagnostic services and tailored cancer treatment to make cancer therapy much more effective. Planned activities for the public-private partnership with the Ministry of Health include breast cancer awareness programs, strengthening screening and diagnostics, training new oncologists and oncology nurses, supporting development of best practice national treatment guidelines and increasing the number of cancer treatment centers in Kenya. 

“This partnership between the Government of Kenya and Roche demonstrates that we all must play our part to ensure that our mothers, sisters and daughters have the opportunity to fight and win the war against breast cancer.” First Lady Margaret Kenyatta

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.

 “This comprehensive agreement ensures that breast cancer patients in Kenya will have not only improved access to care and life-changing medicines, but also that the overall healthcare system is stronger to support all Kenyans battling cancer.” Markus Gemuend, Head of Roche Sub-Saharan Africa.

Roche is developing similar programs in other sub-Saharan African countries, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon. Based on country needs and capabilities, Roche is implementing a wide selection of activities in collaboration with local partners, including healthcare system strengthening, such as local data generation and advocacy for healthcare prioritisation; disease management support, such as awareness, advocacy campaigns and healthcare professional education, along with innovative pricing solutions such as developing private health insurance with local companies and differential price agreements with governments.

Partnership information

Company(ies) Roche

Partner(s) Beth Mugo Cancer Foundation, Kenya Ministry of Health

Type of Partner(s) Government, NGOs

Therapeutic Focus Women and Children's Health, Non-Communicable Diseases

Disease(s) Cancer, Children's Health, Women's Health

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Differential Pricing, Availability of Treatment - Technology Transfer - Scientific Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing, Health System Infrastructure - Development of Physical Infrastructure, Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Region(s) Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 1

Country(ies) Kenya

Start Date 2016

More information News article Press release

Anticipated completion date Ongoing