REPUBLIC OF KENYA

Turning the tide in health care provision

The Ministry of Health Wednesday, stepped up its plan to decentralize cancer management services following the signing of an intergovernmental tripartite agreement between the Ministry of Health, Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research hospital and Kisumu county government.
The agreement signed by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and Kisumu governor Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o sets the stage for the establishment of a comprehensive cancer and hematology centre at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and referral hospital in Kisumu.
“The cancer center that we have laid the foundation stone is a great milestone in terms of the future of cancer management and cancer control not only in Kisumu but also in the country.’’ stated Kagwe. “We want to make sure that this journey of control and management of cancer is going to end at us saving more lives and ensuring the death rate from cancer infections is reduced to a minimum. In our nation, about 70% of those diagonized with cancer die. “ Kagwe emphasized. .
Kisumu Governor Professor Anyang Nyong’o said every Kenyan has a right to affordable and accessible health care including cancer or any other blood disorder. He said the facility is envisaged to turn the tide in cancer management as part of provision of universal health coverage. The facility is expected to handle patients with sickle cell disease and studies have shown a high prevalence rate of the disease in Western and Nyanza region.
“Kisumu county government commits to realizing the dream to eventually make cancer confined to the dustbin of forgotten history.” Said the governor. “It is an ambitious project being implemented to include radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a center for treating blood disorders” he concluded.
Statistics indicate 42,117 new cancer cases are reported each year and 28,000 cancer deaths occur annually. The establishment of the regional centre is in line with the country’s overarching goal of reducing cancer mortality. Cancer remains the third leading cause of death in the country.
Separately, the cabinet secretary officially opened Lumumba sub county hospital which has been upgraded to a level four facility. The hospital formerly had a bed occupancy of 18 which has since been increased to 140. The series of events culminated with the launch of the scale up of universal health coverage.
Kisumu county will now cover over 60,000 indigents under the National Health Insurance Fund from the current 45,000. National health insurance fund CEO Peter Kamunyo, commended the region for embracing and utilizing the health insurance. He said the uptake of health services within Kisumu county was the highest in the country, with NHIF reimbursing up to 25 million shillings annually to hospitals in the region up from 1.7 million six years ago. He urged the residents to continue using NHIF for ease of access to affordable quality health care.