Kenya Cancer Association (KENCANSA) is a voluntary run non-profit making organization established in Kenya in 1995 after recognition that Cancer was emerging as a leading cause of death in the country. KENCANSA was officially registered as a Non-Governmental Organisation in 2005 although it had existed previously as part of the Ministry of health since the 1980s. We are a people-centric organization taking the lead in cancer elimination through awareness and support.
Our core mandate is to raise public awareness on Cancer as well as mobilize stakeholders including the Government to prioritize Cancer in their planning, programming and budgeting. Its other mandates include to coordinate and provide leadership to efforts aimed at cancer control and reducing the burden of cancer in Kenya, and participating actively in activities and initiatives geared towards reduction of the cancer burden in Kenya.
A Kenya without Cancer
The national cancer organisation mitigating the rising burden of cancer through provision of advocacy, education, public awareness, research and cancer/ patient support services in collaboration and partnership with other key stakeholders.
Our values and guiding principles apply across the organisation and underpin how we will carry our work and represent our basic beliefs about what really matters and which guide how things should be done.
Our values statements are:
>Integrity – We are open and ethical in everything we do and accountable for our actions.
>Credibility – We are a trusted source of cancer information and support, driven by the best evidence available.
>Leadership – With courage and conviction, we unite and empower others with a strong message of hope for a future without cancer.
>Results – We are committed to achieving the best possible cancer outcomes for the community through the best use of knowledge and resources.
>Participation – we value and recognize the contribution of volunteers within organisations and communities.
>Caring – We are passionate, considerate, respectful and empathetic toward those individuals and families touched by cancer and our colleagues. We believe that all people should be treated with consideration and dignity. Our encouraging and supportive environment allows volunteers and staff to thrive, and contributes to our ability to advance our cause.
RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY
KENCANSA through the Late Prof Kasili, once the Chairperson of the organization involved in the establishment of the children’s cancer ward. Also through him, KENCANSA was involved in the setting up of the Nairobi Hospice situated at Kenyatta National Hospital.
KENCANSA contributed in initiating, developing with experts and government ministries for the National cancer Control Act that was signed into Law by the Kenyan President in 2012.
RELAY FOR LIFE KENYA
By employing different resource mobilization efforts, KENCANSA has been able to reach out to different partners to join efforts. Significantly, KENCANSA organizes and coordinates Relay for Life Event – a fundraising event towards the fight against cancer every year, an activity that has attracted over 5500 participants after 3 years. Through Relay for Life, KENCANSA supports access to treatment by helping cancer patients to access National Health Insurance Fund covers among other Cancer Patient Support activities.
Pink Sparkle event was the first beneficiaries of proceeds of Relay for Life 2015 kitty. The event involved gathering a group of 50 needy women who had under gone mastectomy and were in need of prosthesis to redeem their self-esteem. Most of these women affected lacked knowledge of how to take time off to heal their wound as well as using the prosthesis.
KENCASA Feed A Patient Program
KENCANSA is carrying out a Cancer Patient Feeding Program at the Kenyatta National Hospital that helps Chemotherapy patients as they seek treatment during their various sessions. The initiative comes after KENCANSA realized the suffering of most cancer patients. The patients would wait in long queues and many times skip meals as they await treatment with the fear of having another patient go ahead of them. The Patient Feeding Program provides hot lunch meals to chemotherapy out-patients receiving treatment at the cancer center and is in partnership with Kenyatta National Hospital at an estimated budget of more than 1 Million per year reaching over 500 patients each month.
Education and Awareness
KENCANSA has significantly improved cancer awareness through a Learn at Work program. Learn at Work is a basic cancer education activity by KENCANSA targeting corporates. Supported by proceeds from Relay for Life event, the program provides cancer education to staff during a one hour lunch break at the workplace or any other convenient time. The staff are trained on selected topics including; a brief overview about cancer, risk factors, common cancers and early detection as well as treatment options. After a successive training, KENCANSA offers two volunteer staff an opportunity to attend a full day seminar on `Psychosocial support for cancer at the workplace`. The activity is voluntary to attend by any of the staff.
Different organizations have benefited from this exercise including GetBucks a microfinance institution, Serena Group of Hotels, Darling Kenya, SENACA East Africa, St. John Ambulance and KKrew, a faith based movement. Most corporate employees are receptive to this initiative since many have been affected directly or indirectly but due to stigma associated with the disease, they are not able to share with those close to them. Employers are also increasingly becoming concerned with the health status and well-being of their employees. Significantly, KENCANSA is also in the process of supporting development of curriculum and teaching materials that can be used by caregivers, patients and all affected people.