, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – The Government has announced it will allocate funds in the coming financial budget to public palliative cancer treatment centres.
Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said this will guarantee proper medical care for cancer patients who have often had to travel abroad to seek treatment.
“Starting this year 2014/2015 we shall allocate budgets for those cancer care centres because we require those patients to have comfort.”
“I know the Senators will support us when it comes to Parliament in terms of asking for budgets,” said Macharia as he channelled his remarks to Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o.
Macharia assured that the ministry is also looking at ways of equipping public hospitals across the country to benefit all other patients following concerns of the poorly equipped hospitals.
“The public sector is strained in terms of trained personnel to treat and care for the cancer patients, something as ministry we are working tirelessly to see that is solved. People are flying out for cancer treatment, cardiovascular and diabetes, we saw the statistics and they are about 7,000 annually.”
“If we were to invest the close to Sh10 billion that they spend abroad then we would be able to get value and improve our own facilities,” Macharia explained.
According the Ministry of Health, some 27,000 people succumb annually to cancer with 38,000 new cases detected every year.
Macharia further encouraged men to get screened for cancer saying that men often shy away from getting tested.
“Sometime last year we went to launch a cancer screening initiative at Kenyatta National Hospital, where as there was a long queue of women waiting to be screened; there was not a single man waiting to be screened and me standing there to launch it I was embarrassed,” explained the Health Secretary.
He further called on all stakeholders both in the public and private sector to support each other in the fight against cancer.
Speaking as he officiated the opening of a cancer studio funded by the Safaricom Foundation, Macharia called for regular checkups for people to avoid detections when it is a little too late.
He also asked hospitals to also offer support to families of the patients so that they can get the adequate training on how to be care givers.
Safaricom Foundation in partnership with Faraja Cancer Support Trust opened the state of the art facility to provide complementary care and support for cancer patients at no cost.
The studio, named after the late Ivor Machio Wekesa who was a Director of Risk Division at Safaricom Limited, aims to better the lives of cancer patients and families.
Safaricom Foundation Chairman Joseph Ogutu remembered Wekesa saying, “For those of us who knew the late Wekesa all agree that he had the innate ability to see great potential in those he worked with.”
“He aimed to improve, re-apply higher standards and tackle real problems, we wish to continue with that legacy,” Ogutu said.
Wekesa’s widow Sophie Machio led the family in eulogising her husband who succumbed to cancer in October 2012 thanking the foundation for choosing to commemorate his memory with the studio.
“This studio today not only gives hope to the increasing number of cancer patients but also serves to keep his memory alive. My children will always remember their dad as an honourable man and will be so proud that their father’s former employer had honoured him in his way,” an emotional Machio said.