State revs up plans to set up regional cancer centres

Stakeholders in the health care sector during the summit at State House, Nairobi on Tuesday, September 13. /PSCU
Stakeholders in the health care sector during the summit at State House, Nairobi on Tuesday, September 13. /PSCU

The government plans to establish regional cancer treatment centres to decongest referral hospitals.

This is one of the new strategies the state is taking up in the fight against the killer disease.

Health CS Cleopa Mailu said the cancer centres planned for Coast, Nyanza, Central and Rift Valley regions would save Kenyans costs of travel to access treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Dr Mailu, who spoke on Wednesday during the State House Summit on Health, said the government is also equipping and improving infrastructure in public facilities at the county.

Those at the national level will also be improved to increase access to health in efforts to deliver the Jubilee administration’s promise on health.

"Cancer diagnosis and treatment can be managed as outpatient ailments with the right equipment in hospitals. Distance, however, force patients to be admitted at the referral hospitals," Mailu told sector players during the Summit.

The CS outlined the various programmes put in place by the government to improve health care in the country.

He said Sh98.3 billion has been invested in specialised equipment in hospitals and free health care services, including free maternity services.

The CS added that the Government has also allocated Sh20 billion to HIV, TB and Malaria programs among others.

"Specialised equipment in hospitals has been allocated Sh38 billion, free maternity service Sh4.2 billion, free services in health centres and dispensaries (no user fee) Sh 900 million," Mailu said.

"HIV, TB and malaria programs Sh20 billion, Sh28 billion for expansion of NHIF benefit care package to include chronic illness while Sh26 billion is for upgrading healthcare in informal settlements," the CS said.

Mailu further said that the implementation of the Managed Equipment Service project is firmly on course with 144 digital anaesthetic machines, 104 digital sterilization equipment and modern surgical sets, 94 digital X-ray systems, 28 high dependency unit equipment and 47 digital OPG unit for dental X-rays installed by June 2016.

The CS observed that interventions and achievements in maternal health have doubled skilled deliveries from 600,000 to 1.2 million, enabling 58 per cent of Kenyan women to access contraception.

Interventions and achievements in child health,

Mailu said, include reduction of diarrhea in children by 50 per cent, improved nutritional status and immunization coverage; and reduction in transmission of HIV from mother to child by 50 per cent (13,000 to 6,500).

He pointed out that government distributed 12.6 million mosquito nets to ensure that majority of children in the country sleep under a net while 90 per cent of TB patients get treatment.

"Other interventions for improved access to health services include NHIF package to cater for chronic illnesses; increased capacity in human resources, more Kenya Medical Training Centre campuses and health subsidies in informal settlement health facilities," the CS said.