By Regional News Team
Today is Tuesday September 25, 2012, exactly one year since Prof Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace laureate and conservation heroine died in Nairobi after a long battle with cancer. At least 22,000 people died of various cancers in Kenya last year out of the 28,000 reported cases according to government statistics.
This according to President Mwai kibaki was because 80 percent of the patients were diagnosed when cancers were at advanced stage, noting that the incidences of cancer in the country were increasing at an alarming rate with breast, cervical and prostate cancer being the most common cancers in Kenya.
The year is marked just at the time Kenya is still mourning the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Community, David Nalo who was the third senior government official to go public about ailment from cancer. He died on September 12, 2012 at Nairobi Hospital.
He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer in February this year and had been undergoing treatment since then, including chemotherapy. Pact Kenya Cancer assessment estimates 50 people die every day from different forms of cancer while 80,000 new diagnosed are done each year.
Just when plans are still underway for the burial of Nalo, former Presidential Escort Commander Elijah Sumbeiywo was buried last week. He died after a battle with cancer for long. He died of pancreas cancer that he has been battling at a Nairobi hospital. He was the presidential escort commander under retired President Moi.
Reported cases of cancer have been on the rise in the recent months. Alexandra Ajoy, who until her untimely death was the youngest survivor of Leukemia-the cancer of blood also died this year.
The 4 year old has been diagnosed with the deadly cancer at the age of 2. Her condition required a bone marrow transplant which could only take place in India since Kenya has no facilities to treat her case.
Until her death, she had endured insurmountable pain which only her family can relate to. She had also been under heavy medication. Baby Lexie came into the public fore during the launch of the Africa Cancer Foundation in July last year, an NGO that supports the fight against cancer in Africa.
Veteran politician, Martin Shikuku, the self-declared “People’s Watchman” of Kenyan politics also died of cancer this year. Shikuku had been admitted at the Texas cancer centre in Nairobi’s Hurlingham where he was undergoing treatment after a long battle with prostate cancer.
It is also one year Patrick Makau of Kenya turned the Berlin Marathon into his own personal conga line, setting a world record of 2 hours 3 minutes 38 seconds in 26.2 miles coverage.
Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
People for Peace in Africa
Peaceful world is the greatest heritage That this generation can give to the generations To come- All of us have a role.