NAIROBI, Kenya

Kenya’s World Cancer Day virtual meeting on Thursday, headed by Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe, was disrupted after hackers started displaying obscene images and videos.

The hackers hijacked the meeting just as oncologist David Makumi was releasing shocking cancer statistics recorded during the COVID-19 outbreak.

He said the pandemic has strained government resources and families’ finances for those seeking cancer medication and treatment across the East African country.

“In Kenya, 130 people get cancer on a daily basis, while 100 succumb to the disease due to late diagnosis. Cancer treatment should be made a primary health care service,” he added.

After the hackers’ attack, officials from the Health Ministry were forced to end the conference prematurely. Cancer survivors, international partners, and health professionals from across the world were also in attendance.

The hack, known as “Zoom-bombing”, has become common in recent days as people switch to online meetings amid virus restrictions that have limited movement and social gatherings.

The annual World Cancer Day is marked on Feb. 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.

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