63 MPs Battling Cancer, Juja MP Francis Waititu Says
At least 63 members of the National Assembly and Senate are battling cancer, Juja Member of Parliament Francis Waititu says.
Speaking to the Standard, the MP said the number of Kenyans suffering from the killer disease is alarming and it is time to talk about it boldly.
“The situation is serious. We have for example about 63 MPs and thousands of other Kenyans suffering from cancer. We must get out and talk about it boldly.” he said.
Waititu had been diagnosed with stage two brain cancer and was declared cancer free in March this year after undergoing treatment for several weeks in India.
When he returned, the MP said he was shocked to meet 13 of his colleagues in Parliament seeking treatment for cancer there.
“I met hundreds of cancer patients from Kenya alone. Among them were nine of my fellow MPs and four Senators. The cancer scourge is enormous and we can no longer afford to bury our heads in the sand. We must get out and talk about it,” he said.
Waititu says despite early discovery that he had cancer, he spent Sh8 million on treatment alone in India.
“I resolved that I was not going to let the disease put me down. I had to fight and God gave me strength and courage. It is no longer a secret that many people are suffering in silence from cancer. Nobody wants to talk about it because of the stigma,” said the MP.
Official government health records shows that about 10,000 Kenyans travel abroad every year for cancer treatment.
India, United Kingdom, United States and South Africa are the leading destinations for Kenyans seeking cancer treatment.
Some of popular personalities who have died recently as a result of cancer include the late Migori Senator Ben Oluoch (throat cancer) and the late Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua (cancer of the pancreas).