With the cost of healthcare sky-high for many Kenyans, the ministry of health says it negotiating with drug manufacturers to lower the cost of cancer treatment.
To cut the cost further the ministry that also handles water, sanitation and irrigation dockets says it is keen on creating awareness on the need for citizens to go for early screening of cancer, currently among the leading causes of death in Kenya.
“The ministry is encouraging citizens to go for early screening as a way of reducing cancer-related deaths, which currently stand at 33,000 per year,” according to former cabinet secretary for health Sicily Kariuki.
The CS said during a recent tour of Ruiru Level Four Hospital that the hospital is crowded as it serves 100 per cent of the population in its catchment area, which also serves Lower Kiambu and Juja.
The CS had said before her transfer from the ministry that plans to upgrade the facility to a Level Five Hospital were at an advanced stage. The hospital will be expanded and allocated more resources, personnel and equipment to be able to offer quality healthcare to the residents of Ruiru and its surrounding areas.
While she headed the ministry, Kariuki revealed the plans following a request by area MP Simon King’ara to upgrade the hospital. The two also appealed for more government funding to expand the hospital.
The CS assured the leaders that the national government was committed to ensuring the Universal Health Care becomes a reality before 2022.
Quality healthcare is the ultimate goal of the government’s Big Four Agenda targets, the CS explained.
It remains to be seen if the government will live up to its promise on the back of the disruption of the economy and social services programmes by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to King’ara, the hospital serves over 600,000 people yet some of its equipment used to diagnose cancer are in disuse, hence cannot serve the patients who need it most.
“Our x-ray services are overstretched. We are yet to construct a mortuary. Most patients are referred to Thika Level Five Hospital for services that can be offered locally at this facility,” he said.
“Upgrading (the hospital) will be a big relief for residents, many of whom cannot afford to go for treatment at private hospitals,” the MP said.
The national government has bought the hospital new equipment worth Ksh40 million. (US$134,000) However, the Kiambu governor regrets that the hospital is still seriously under-staffed.