, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 25 – The government has received a grant worth Sh519 billion to set up four cancer centres and a renal dialysis facility.
Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o announced on Monday that the grant, from Cartis Group, had to be cleared by the Treasury before it could be disbursed in several phases.
Nyong’o explained that the country urgently required the extra facilities, as the only such unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital was overstretched.
“These figures total €4.5 billion; not Kenya shillings….it is a grant for us to establish cancer and renal centres,” he said.
Cartis East African Consultant, Joseph Warui said the group would expect Kenya to account for every shilling to ensure that it is properly utilised.
He explained that the additional facilities would improve healthcare provision in the country, noting that there was only one cancer facility.
“People will not be going abroad to sort out this animal (cancer) because we are going to have four establishments. So as a nation I believe this is one of the things that we need to be proud of,” he argued.
The government wrote a proposal to the French firm requesting the funds two months ago and on February 15, a letter from the group’s president informed the Ministry of Medical Services that its proposal had been successful.
Nyong’o also noted that the monies could come in after March 4, saying it would be important for the incoming government to ensure that the plans came to fruition.
“A lot of these things will be done by my successor but I am happy that we have laid the foundation and what will be left is implementation,” said Nyong’o.
The money will also be used to buy special cancer equipment like isotopes in addition to training specialised personnel like nuclear physicists and nursing professionals.
“We might also need to have other people come on board to run these facilities and this will be done over a period to be agreed. Discussions are still ongoing,” he explained.
Many Kenyans who have cancer have to go to countries like India, South Africa and the United States to seek treatment.
Both the Medical Services Minister and his counterpart at the Public Health and Sanitation docket Beth Mugo have had to travel abroad to get treated for cancer because the facilities in the country are overloaded.
Statistics indicate that 15,000 Kenyans die from cancer related complications each year.
“This is going to be a breakthrough for Kenya because people are dying and it is affecting everyone and I believe that these facilities will not only serve Kenyans but the entire East African Community,” said Warui.