Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu during a past function. Photo courtesy of Health Ministry
NAIROBI, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) — Kenya plans to establish regional cancer treatment centers in a new strategy to decongest referral hospitals in the fight against the killer disease, a government official said on Tuesday.
Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu said the cancer centers planned for the coastal, western, central and northwest regions would save Kenyans money spent while travailing to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) to access the treatment.
“Cancer diagnosis and treatment can be managed as outpatient ailments with the right equipment in hospitals. Distance, however, forces patients to be admitted at the referral hospitals,” Mailu said in Nairobi.
The CS admitted that cancer patients’ crisis at the referral hospital still persists, but promised to improve health care at county level to ease burden at KNH.
“I don’t expect KNH to chase away cancer patients as they have a right to access health care. The burden in KNH is not ending soon. The answer lies in strengthening primary health institutions,” he noted.
CS Mailu said a decision has been made by the government to have faith based institutions roped into free maternity, which will be rolled out this month.
He said the move will ensure that mothers delivering in faith based institutions access free maternity. Mailu said the government invests 9 million U.S. dollars for free health care in primary level facilities annually, adding that the state has also introduced 48 digital mammography units to address cancer at various health facilities.
The CS said the government is also equipping and improving infrastructure in public facilities at the county and national level to increase access to health in its effort to deliver the Jubilee administration’s promise on health.
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