As the hot scorching sun shined bright in the clear blue sky, sounds of drums and pinging from cymbals came from the marching of the Kenya police band that drew the attention on big crowds. The long awaited day that majority of Kenyans of good will was finally here. The youth filled the street of Nairobi as they held banners portraying the messages for World Cancer Day. Some of the banners had the “#WeCanICan” writings, being the theme for World cancer day 2017 and others had information of the importance of screening.
At the heart of Nairobi, outside the Kenya National Archives was filled with a lot of curious on-lookers who were eager to find out what the fuss was about. White tents stood tall as different health organization displayed their information education materials. Some of the organizations were AAR, Aga Khan Hospital, and Hope for Cancer Kids (H.C.K), Kenya Cancer Association (KENCASA), Faraja Cancer support, and Texas Cancer centre, Kenya Hospice and Palliative Care (KEHPCA) and Kenya Network of Cancer Organization (KENCO).
The loud music from speakers and DJs prowess in attracting the passers-by drew more people to follow the proceedings. The master of ceremony started off with the National anthem. He then welcomed the invited guests to deliver their speeches/ remarks.
Prof. Jessie Githanga, who is passionate about childhood cancers, advised on some of the danger signs to watch for in children; inactivity for a child who has been active, lack of interest in play or walking around, gloomy appearance, among others. She advised that once these signs are noticed, medical advice should be sought.
Jane (not her real name) a breast cancer survivor, talked about her experience battling with cancer and how she had to undergo a mastectomy. It was difficult for her to accept living with only one breast but through counseling, support from family and friends, she has finally accepted it and encourages others faced by similar situations to seek medical support and not to lose hope.
Dr. Zipporah Ali, the executive director of Kenya Hospice and Palliative Care association (KEHPCA) also participated in the event and talked about the importance of provision of quality palliative care. This care includes the physical, psychosocial and spiritual support for patients and families faced by life threatening illnesses. She also urged the public to visit the various hospices for more information and further care as necessary.
Students from various universities and other volunteers engaged the public and gave away different colored ribbons for the public to wear in solidarity with cancer patients. The different colored ribbons have different meanings, for example; the purple ribbon represents all survivors of cancer, orange is for children who have cancer, black is for people with skin cancer and amongst others. Apart from the information that was given verbally, at the end of the day people were handed out Information education materials and were also allowed to have one on one conversations with various professionals in health for further information.