The Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI) strives to develop evidence-based guidelines to enhance breast-health outcomes. They are promoting collaborative approaches involving the medical community, policy markers, and civil society to build breast cancer screening awareness in Kenya.
The Problem: Kenyan Women at Risk
Breast cancer accounts for an estimated one-in-five of all cancers in Kenya, and it is the third leading cause of death, reports Capital News. Breast cancer generally has the highest incidences among Sub-Saharan African women.
Kenyan women are at a high risk for breast cancer, as was explained recently at the International Breast Cancer Symposium in Nairobi, Kenya. Most breast cancer cases aren’t diagnosed in Kenya till Stage 3 and 4 due to limited early diagnosis initiative. A number of factors impede the health of Kenyan women including:
- Overall costs of and efficiency of the imaging and tissue sampling care value chain
- Lack of mature diagnostic systems and processes
- Insufficient trained professionals dedicated to cancer detection
The Conference Sponsored by Aga Kahn University Hospital
The International Breast Cancer Symposium focused on implementation of Breast Cancer Management Guidelines in Resource-limited settings. The scientific-focused meeting brought together cancer specialists from across the globe, and in addition to Aga Kahn University Hospital, was also organized by the Kenyan Ministry of Health, the National Cancer Institute, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, UICC Global Cancer Control, the African Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the Kenya Society of Hematology and Oncology (KESHO).
They seek to become the premier tertiary, teaching, and referral health care facility in sub-Saharan Africa. Aga Khan University Hospital has operated for over 50 years in East Africa. As a private, not-for-profit hospital, they strive to offer access to quality healthcare to all in need.
Kenyan National Cancer Institute Lead Concerns
Alfred Karagu, CEO of the National Cancer Institute highlighted at the event challenges in the fight against breast cancer management (and cancer in general) in the country: from health system inequalities, which limit diagnosis and treatment opportunities, inadequate cancer research infrastructure, limited health expenditure in cancer control by governments and international stakeholders to a strong bias in favor of infectious disease to subpar coordination of health advocacy endeavors to limited success in screening efforts due to financial constraints of many women, not to mention other factors.
Breast Cancer Global Initiative
The Breast Cancer Global Initiative (BCGI) develops, implements and studies evidence-based, economically feasible, and culturally appropriate Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control for low-and middle-income countries to improve breast health outcomes and access to breast cancer screening, detection, and treatment for women.
They were formed in 2002 when Fred Hutch and Susan G. Komen came together to initiate this critically important mission—a network of organizations and individuals, health organizations and government agencies, as well as NGOs and corporations, dedicated to improving breast health care and cancer treatment for women in economically disadvantaged countries.
Call to Action: Are you involved with clinical research or health care in sub-Saharan Africa or Kenya and interested in learning more? Connect with the organizations mentioned here. Do you need support in making introductions? Contact TrialSite News.