The Ministry of Health has proposed to have cancer care and treatment handled at the national level.
This means the counties will not have a role in caring for cancer patients which will be a disadvantage to Kenyans who have been diagnosed as they would have to travel all the way to Nairobi to access treatment.
The ministry’s proposal comes in the wake of the country’s cancer burden where 37,000 cancer cases are recorded annually – the majority of them being detected at the last stage.
“What the county governments need is adequate funding for equipment and comprehensive capacity building for specialists at the county level,” reads part of a statement that was issued by the Council of Governors yesterday.
However, executive director of the Kenya Cancer Association Deborah Modi’s proposal would push back the gains made in ensuring cancer patients access treatment immediately without having to travel long distances.
“We cannot have cancer patients coming to Kenyatta [National Hospital]. The line is already full. We need to ensure cancer patients can be able to access health services in all Level 5 hospitals. They should also train more health oncologists because the current number we have are not enough,” Deborah said in a phone interview.
The proposal was revealed at an extraordinary meeting attended by officials from the World Bank, representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis .