NAIROBI – GE Healthcare has reaffirmed its capabilities in oncology as a key corporate partner for the Trade Mission and Special Event on Medical Technologies for Cancer Treatment held in Nairobi recently. This effort builds on GE’s work aimed at tackling the growing burden of non-communicable disease (NDCs), including cancer, and recent commitment of $500,000 to the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon campaign for partnership programmes aimed at reducing the growing burden of cancer in Ethiopia.
In Kenya, cancer is ranked the third biggest cause of death (after infectious and cardiovascular diseases), contributing to 7% of total mortality annually. Leading cancers in women include breast, cervical and throat while those in men include cancers of the oesophagus and prostate. According to figures, 28,500 new cancer cases are diagnosed annually, while 22,100 people die of the disease in the same period, 60% of which are deemed to be premature.
“The rise of non-communicable diseases, including all forms of cancer, continues to place significant burden on the community and the health system,” said Mr. Isaiah Okoth, General Manager of GE Healthcare in East Africa. “Meeting the cancer challenge head-on ranks among the key health priorities of the region’s healthcare providers and to that extent, greater emphasis on screening and early diagnosis coupled with increased public education and improved lifestyle choices are essential. Through its work globally, GE Healthcare is at work here in Kenya and across East Africa to bring its extensive oncology solutions and expertise to help combat cancer.”
Mr Okoth said at least one-third of cancer cases are preventable, noting that increased awareness and vigilance can help fight cancer. In September 2011, GE launched an ambitious global campaign against cancer, committing $1 billion of its total R&D budget over the next five years to expand its advanced cancer diagnostic and molecular imaging capabilities, as well as its world-class technologies for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals and for cancer research.
GE is also advancing innovation in other areas of oncology. In November 2014, GE Healthcare announced a new partnership effort to co-develop new diagnostic techniques and drugs for hepatic fibrosis (scarring of the liver), along with other liver diseases.