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NEWS INDEPTH: Cancer of food pipe now Kenya’s top killer

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Oesophagus cancer is the top killer in Kenya, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) cancer research agency said on Wednesday.

In its Globocan report that analyses new cases and deaths among men and women, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said oesophagus cancer kills 4,354 Kenyans every year, overtaking cervix, breast, stomach and prostate cancers.

Dr Andrew Odhiambo, an oncologist at Kenyatta National Hospital and Nairobi Radiotherapy and Cancer Centre said the food pipe cancer could be linked to volcanic soils, alcohol and tobacco chewing or smoking.

“This is not a surprise. We are seeing more patients with oesophagus and stomach cancers than before and most come after many months or years of misdiagnosis, when the disease has advanced. Clinicians in rural hospitals miss it because it has similar symptoms with acid reflux, typhoid, amoeba or H.pylori,’’ he said.

Oesophagus and stomach cancers patients have trouble swallowing, experience upper stomach pain, heartburns, bloating and lose of weight fast.

“If a patient goes to hospital with these symptoms they are given antacids as the cancer continues to spread. A few years ago, most doctors used to see three to four oesophagus and stomach cancer cases a week, but now the number is more than double especially at Kenyatta National Hospital,’’ said Dr Odhiambo. The WHO findings are backed by previous studies from Tenwek Mission Hospital, which linked the disease to intake of traditional fermented milk (mursik).


The Tenwek survey painted a grim picture, indicating that new cases and deaths are rising, even among teenagers.

Dr Odhiambo said it was worrying that most Kenyans getting cancer are much younger than their counterparts in developed countries.

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The Globocan 2018 findings show that 47,887 Kenyans get cancer every year as 32,987 die from the disease. The most common remains breast cancer with 5,985 women and men diagnosed every year compared to 2,864 prostate cases.

“These new figures highlight that much remains to be done to address the alarming rise in the cancer burden globally and that prevention has a key role to play,” said Dr Christopher Wild, IARC director.


Globally, most people die from lung cancer, which is linked to smoking, followed by colorectal, liver and breast types. However, low-income countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are bearing the biggest burden due to lack of awareness, misdiagnosis, late presentation to hospitals and high cost of treatment.

Professor Max Parkin, the coordinator of African Cancer Registry Network said, during a cancer meeting in Sweden in June, that low-income countries do not have to reinvent the wheel.

“Let’s ensure these countries get proper screening services, have access to vaccines such as HPV [human papilloma virus] and affordable cancer drugs,’’ he said.


He observed that the lack of mature cancer registries in Africa also makes it hard to know the exact figures, adding that Kenya statistics were mainly picked from Nairobi, Kijabe and Moi Teaching Referral Hospital registries.

“Africa needs accurate data for planning and prioritising resources,’’ he said.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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