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CGH Director strengthens research and control partnerships in Kenya

, by Mishka Cira and Nathan Brand

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center for Global Health (CGH), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Kenya, convened the Kenya Cancer Research and Control Stakeholder Meeting with multi-sectoral stakeholders in May 2014.  Since 2014, CGH has provided in-country technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and non-Ministry stakeholders to increase coordination of cancer control efforts, support cancer control policy development, and to improve sharing of information with relevant partners about areas for collaboration to increase cancer research and control capacity.  As a follow up to that meeting and subsequent engagement with Kenya, Dr. Edward Trimble, Director of the Center for Global Health visited Kenya from December 5th to 9th, 2016.  The objectives of the visit were to:

  • Meet with NIH/NCI Center for Global Health partners and Kenya stakeholders in cancer research and control, and reiterate longer-term NIH/NCI Center for Global Health engagement in Kenya to support national cancer control planning, and expanded research capacity.
  • Solidify collaborative relationship with the National Cancer Institute of Kenya through signing of a joint Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Share with US government counterparts about NIH/NCI’s work, and discuss US government priorities in supporting health strengthening in Kenya.

Dr. Trimble had the opportunity to meet with the Board of Trustees of the National Cancer Institute of Kenya, the advisory body on cancer research and control to the Kenyan Ministry of Health.  During the meeting, NIH/NCI Center for Global Health and the National Cancer Institute of Kenya signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), pledging to share information and cooperate on capacity building efforts in cancer research and control in Kenya.

During the visit, Dr. Trimble met with US Ambassador Godec, and the two discussed ways for NIH/NCI to regularly communicate with the US Embassy about cancer-related activities in Kenya, in order to assist Ambassador Godec in sharing relevant information for stakeholders with whom he interacts in meetings and gatherings.  NIH/NCI Center for Global Health, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Kenya Country Office, committed to develop a communication mechanism, and to further discuss plans for long-term engagement for NIH/NCI in Kenya.

As part of the meetings with the National Cancer Institute of Kenya, Dr. Trimble met with the National Cancer Institute of Kenya Technical Working Group Leadership, to learn about progress and challenges to achieve action plans laid out in the 2014 National Stakeholder Meeting, and to discuss ways to collaborate moving forward.  Areas identified include increased collaborative interaction across the technical working group thematic areas, integration of Working Group inputs into review and implementation of the National Cancer Control Strategy, and coordination of resource mobilization and research capacity building across the Working Group technical areas.

Additional meetings included the Kenya Medical Research Institute and Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi; Mombasa County Referral Hospital in Mombasa; and Moi University, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) Program in Eldoret.  While in Mombasa, Dr. Trimble presented on global cancer research at the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA).

The WHO reports that non-communicable diseases currently cause over 63% of global mortality annually. Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide accounting for 7.6 million deaths, about 13% of all deaths in 2008. About 70% of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. It is projected that deaths from cancer will continue to rise with an estimate of 13.1 million deaths in 2030 [1]. In Kenya, cancer ranks third as the leading cause of death after infectious and cardiovascular conditions, where it is estimated that more than 28,000 Kenyans live with cancer.  According to GLOBOCAN 2012, in Kenya, the number of new cancer cases is 41,000 with an annual mortality of 28.500 [2].  The Nairobi cancer registry, which is a population based registry covering 3.2 million, found that between 2004 and 2008 3,889 cases of cancer were reported with prostate and breast being the most prevalent cancers for men and women respectively [3]. In response to this growing burden of disease, the presence of NIH/NCI designated cancer centers conducting cancer research in Kenya, and the increased interest to develop national cancer control plans and policies, NIH/NCI Center for Global Health has sought to partner with Kenyan government and non-government stakeholders to increase coordination and capacity of efforts in cancer research and control.

Dr. Trimble noted that these meetings and interactions served to further solidify NIH/NCI commitment to long-term engagement in Kenya, to better align NIH/NCI with the mission of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s efforts in Kenya, and to increase the level of NIH/NCI knowledge about the gaps and opportunities for building cancer research and control capacity in Kenya.


1. Orgnization, W.H., Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010. 2011: World Health Organization.

2. Ferlay, J., et al., Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: sources, methods and major patterns in GLOBOCAN 2012. Int J Cancer, 2015. 136(5): p. E359-86.

3. Korir, A., et al., Incidence of cancer in Nairobi, Kenya (2004-2008). Int J Cancer, 2015. 137(9): p. 2053-9.

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