Conference 2021 Hot-Doc Video
Innovative approaches to oncology training and care amid COVID-19 pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa
Authors and Affiliations
Kisilu N.1,2 Were P.1, Muchiri A.1, Saina C.1, Chizi J.K.1, Oduor B.1., Karuru S.M.1, Achieng E.1, Chite A.F.1
1. International Cancer Institute (ICI)
2. Department of General Surgery and Anesthesiology, Moi University
With an approximated less than 100 cancer specialists serving a population of 50 million people, majority of the cancer specialists in Kenya are located in major towns. This leaves the cancer patients from hard to reach areas in lack of essential oncological services. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, cancer care has been affected in various ways. Access to cancer care should not be determined by the patients’ geographic location. Every cancer patient deserves optimal care achieved through timely diagnosis and treatment.
Through strategic partnerships, ICI utilized integrated innovative approaches to bridge the gap in cancer care provided across the counties in Kenya since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic outbreak by adopting the following strategies: Use of tele-consults (video and phone calls), multidisciplinary virtual tumor boards, virtual training on various cancer topics, face to face mentorships, establishing and running of county oncology clinics in partnership with county governments, utilization of revolving fund pharmacy, and adoption of sickle cell disease, diabetes and hypertension clinics. Since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in March 2020, 26 cancer training and mentorship exercises have been conducted, with over 1000 healthcare workers benefiting from them. Cancer care skills training have also been conducted to equip healthcare workers with basic cancer care skills that will enable them to continue providing cancer care in the rural areas and reduce patient travelling during the pandemic period.
Embracing and adopting technology can have a massive impact in cancer care especially in hard to reach areas. With the trained healthcare professionals in basic cancer care, patients are able to access and continue with their care which is timely and cost-effective without travelling to major towns and cities especially during this COVID-19 pandemic period.