The 9th Oncology Nurses Conference was held in Mombasa in September 2023. The theme of the
conference was “Uniting our Voices in Closing the Cancer Care Gap.” The 2023 conference organized by the Oncology Nurses Chapter-Kenya attracted a variety of participants from medical, radiation, clinical oncologists and oncology nurses who made presentations on various topics. Various organizations
partnered with the organizers to make the conference a reality. These included the Directorate
of Nursing Services at the Ministry of Health, the National Cancer Institute of Kenya, the National Cancer Control Programme, pharmaceutical companies, several public and private hospitals,
and the County Government of Mombasa.

There were valuable presentations by the participants which included observations emerging from breast cancer treatment, the strain of family caregivers, importance of psychosocial support for cancer patients, financial planning, and risk management amongst several other presentations. The President of the Oncology Nurses Chapter-Kenya (ONC-K), Ms. Roselyn Okumu noted that at inception ONC-K had only 20 members but overtime the membership has grown to over 400 members to include oncologists, physicists and cancer survivors.

The President of the organization noted that with he ever changing cancer care scope it is imperative that the national government and other stakeholders support the nurses in conducting homegrown research to improve
cancer care.

The Chairperson of the KUTRRH Board, Prof. Olive Mugenda delivered the keynote address that
began by lauding the quality of presentations. The Chairperson’s speech made particular focus on the existing gaps in health care more so early detection gaps. She took concern that most cancer patients present late at health care facilities and as such not much can be done to save them. Although sometimes it is the healthcare professionals who misdiagnose patients only for the cancer diagnosis to be done when the disease has advanced.

The Chairperson underscored the importance of supportive care services including palliative care
as well as a positive attitude on the part of patients which improves patients’ outcomes. She closed by stressing the importance of awareness creation, education as well as community engagement in closing the care gap.Other speakers at the conference were the Principal Secretary, State Department of Public health and Professional Standards, Ms. Mary Muthoni,Mr. Collins Ajwang- the President of the National
Nurses Association of Kenya, Ms. Judith Awinja, the Nursing Services Director at the Ministry of
Health, the CEO of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Elias Melly amongst other speakers, capped
by a moving testimony by a cancer warrior.

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