SOLID INITIATIVE

Draft a cancer bill before declaring it a national disaster

International community will be more trusting that their donations will help when there's a management process

In Summary

• Data shows that Kenya loses 90 people every day to cancer. 

• Declaring it a national disaster would be interpreted as putting the cart before the horse. 

Banner indicating free cancer screening
CURBING SCOURGE: Banner indicating free cancer screening
Image: FILE

As we mourn the passing of Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso and Kibra MP Ken Okoth, we should ask ourselves what we can do to reduce the deaths of our loved ones.

Data shows that Kenya loses 90 people every day to cancer. This means most of those succumbing are poor Kenyans but their deaths pass unnoticed because they do not hail from the families of bigwigs in political, corporate and business sectors.

While sending her condolences to the family of Laboso, Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege called on the government to declare cancer a national disaster. Though I concur with her, one question came to mind. Why do we talk about this scourge only when a prominent person has died? I hope this time Sabina initiates a process that will ensure her noble idea has borne fruits.

 

The first step it to draft the cancer management and treatment bill and lobby her colleagues in the two chambers of Parliament to adopt it. If this is not done, declaring the disease a national disaster would be interpreted as putting the cart before the horse.

As such, you would not expect the international community to support unlegislated and opaque initiative. Besides drugs, only a few people can afford to fly out to seek treatment abroad. But for poor Kenyans, all is not lost. President Uhuru Kenyatta has been working very hard to ease their pain.

Apart from posting doctors, his administration has made key strides in securing and installing diagnostic machines to help in treating cancer patients. Uhuru has also been urging the anti-graft agencies to deal ruthlessly with state officers who steal from poor Kenyans.

This leaves no doubt he is committed to walking the talk in implementing one of the key pillars in his Universal Health Care agenda.

Political analyst and blogger