Project ECHO ® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) was developed in 2003 as a method to improve equitable access to healthcare and demonopolize knowledge to improve capacity. The platform uses technology for combined case-based and didactic, multi-directional learning (5,6). As at September 2020, there are 77 ECHO Hubs for cancer, in 14 countries, running 143 programs (7). Many of these ECHO hubs focus on cancer prevention, treatment, diagnosis, and survivorship.
The Africa Cancer Research and Control ECHO program is one of the first, and only programs that focus on the convening of academic scientists, planners, clinicians, and policy-makers from the region to share best approaches and challenges in cancer control, to advance sustainable NCCP development and implementation. This ECHO was launched in March 2018, with support from the National Cancer Institute/Centre for Global Health and in October 2019, the program transitioned to KENCO as the new convening regional HUB in Africa, upon completion of ECHO Institute-led Immersion Training in Johannesburg, South Africa in February 2019 and in Maputo, Mozambique in November 2019.
KENCO hosts the Africa ECHO sessions using the Zoom® video conferencing platform. There is also a regionally-based leadership structure that makes up the steering committee. Currently, 12 African countries are represented. Additional participants and partners were welcomed throughout the year through word-of-mouth, and through learning about the ECHO from colleagues and collaborators at conferences and scientific meetings. The target populations for this ECHO are professionals involved in cancer research and control at the country level and partners who support research and program implementation in the region. For more details: Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
KENCO being a UICC member applied and was selected to be Kenya’s Country Champion for UICC’s 2019 Cancer Advocates Programme, which is one of UICC’s Capacity Building programmes and an opportunity for UICC Member organizations in low- and middle-income countries to strengthen their ability to advocate for improved cancer control in their countries.
After one year of mentorship, KENCO in 2020 launched its advocacy campaign whose goal is to ensure universal availability of quality and affordable cancer diagnostic and treatment services and progressively reduce out-of-pocket expenditure on cancer treatment in the country leading to comprehensive coverage by 2022.
KENCO in partnership with the Ministry of Health together and other partners helped to introduce a vaccine against Cervical Cancer—also known as the HPV vaccine—into the Routine Immunization Schedule for 10-year-old girls as from October 2019.
Key to KENCO participation was the realization of the following objective
• To promote awareness and availability of the cervical cancer vaccine.
• Increase knowledge on the cervical cancer vaccine and its importance.
• Decrease and address fears, myths and misconception on the cervical cancer vaccine.
• To stimulate parents/guardians to demand for the cervical cancer vaccine for their 10-year old girls as a primary prevention against cervical cancer.
• To ensure parents/guardians are aware of where, when and how they can get their 10-year old girls vaccinated.
KENCO has advocated for increased tobacco and alcohol taxation to control use of tobacco and alcohol. KENCO’s Advocacy for Tobacco control is done through partnerships and affiliation with Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance-KETCA and other partners.
Moreover, KENCO joined Prevent20, a global coalition of cancer groups calling on governments to raise tobacco taxes, the single most effective tobacco control intervention. The movement’s name is in recognition of the more than 20% of all cancer deaths that are attributable to tobacco use – and completely avoidable.
KENCO has been active in advocacy for this by engaging with the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
KENCO has been engaging with the Ministry of Health through the division of the National Cancer Control Program to influence policy formulation and changes.