By Mercy Mwai
Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga yesterday disclosed to a parliamentary committee that she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer five years ago.
Wanga said the disease was discovered when it was at an advanced stage and she underwent treatment.
Appearing before the National Assembly’s Health committee, an emotional Wanga said the cancer was diagnosed at a foreign hospital because local facilities were unable to identify what was ailing her.
“I went abroad to seek treatment because it was at an advanced stage. But I just think it’s God who has seen me through this,” she said.
Kibra MP Ken Okoth is also undergoing treatment in London for the same type of cancer, which affects both the colon and the rectum.
Wanga, who appeared before the committee to push for the passaging of her Cancer Prevention and Control (Amendment) Bill 2015, said since 2014 when she was treated for the disease, she has been going for frequent reviews by doctors.
“My motivation to come up with the bill is because I was diagnosed with cancer but I was able to get treatment abroad,” she said.
She appealed to her colleagues to pass the bill which, she said, would ensure cancer is considered a component of primary care in health facilities.
The MP said cancer screening, early diagnosis, timely referrals and palliative care as well as adequate training of primary care givers would enable the country tackle the disease more effectively.
Wanga also raised concern about the performance of the National Cancer Institute of Kenya, saying it had failed in its duties. “The institute is a sleeping giant. It has so much to do but it has failed to do its job as expected,” she said.