DISEASES ON THE RISE

Educate Kenyans on proper diets to tackle lifestyle diseases, state told

Murang'a woman rep Chege says he government is spending a lot of money treating diseases caused by poor feeding habits.

In Summary

• Chege spoke at Kiria-ini Mission Hospital, where she presented Sh250,000 ICU drugs.

• Woman rep says it would be cheaper for the government to organise sensitisation forums and reduce patients' inflow to hospitals than buy additional equipment.

Parliamentary Health committee chairperson Sabina Chege at Kiria-ini Mission Hospital administration on Friday.
Parliamentary Health committee chairperson Sabina Chege at Kiria-ini Mission Hospital administration on Friday.
Image: Alice Waithera
Parliamentary Health committee chairperson Sabina Chege hands over ICU drugs to Kiria-ini Mission Hospital administration on Friday.
Parliamentary Health committee chairperson Sabina Chege hands over ICU drugs to Kiria-ini Mission Hospital administration on Friday.
Image: Alice Waithera

Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege has urged the government to set aside funds to be used to educate Kenyans on proper nutrition.

She said on Friday many Kenyans suffer from lifestyle diseases that can be controlled through healthful diets but cautioned that the situation could get out of hand if nothing is done swiftly. She wants a kitty set up for the awareness programme. Chege is the chairperson of the National Assembly Health Committee.

She said many Kenyans opt for quick meals which cost them their health and it is time they understood that what they eat and how they prepare it matter. “So many people are feeding on contemporary foods and have forgotten healthy traditional foods,” she said.

Consequently, the government is spending a lot of money treating diseases caused by poor feeding habits, especially high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer, she added.

Chege spoke at Kiria-ini Mission Hospital, where she presented Sh250,000 ICU drugs.

Kiria-ini Mission Hospital administrator Chris Okemwa said the hospital serves about 250 outpatients daily and has a bed capacity of 100.

“We are overwhelmed as we don’t have a major health facility in the area. We are grateful to the MP for assisting us with drugs,” he said.

Chege also cited kidney failure as one of the conditions becoming prevalent. She said many patients seek dialysis treatment on a daily basis. Hence, the government must put in place preventive measures to tackle the problems even as it equips health facilities, she said.

“The government spends too much money on the health budget but we need to sit down and ask why we cannot go to the villages and talk to people about nutrition.”

The lawmaker said organising such sensitisation forums would cost the government less than the cost of having to increase dialysis machines in hospitals. She plans to partner with Kiria-ini hospital to organise education forums so residents learn the benefits of healthy eating habits. The hospital had previously volunteered its facilities for a free medical camp, which the legislator organised in Mathioya subcounty. 

Chege said the hospital had been helping critically ill patients in need of ICU services, especially those who have been unable to meet their medical costs and have had their bills waived. 

“We agreed that when I get any sort of help, especially in terms of drugs, I will be considering them to help them continue operating,” she said.

Chege appealed to the county governments to support mission hospitals with doctors and support staff to lessen their operational costs. She said the majority of the hospitals offer more affordable, quality treatment than many private facilities but they find it difficult to hire doctors as it is expensive and that limits the number of patients they serve.

Chege also pointed out that she had received communication from clinical officers over their grievances that include lack of payment for interns. “I advised them to write an official letter addressed to the clerk of the National Assembly if they want the Health committee’s attention,” she said.

She said money was allocated in the budget for interns and her committee will establish from the Health ministry why it was not released.

(Edited by F'Orieny)