The government will train more cancer specialists to save patients the challenge of travelling to the two national referral hospitals, Moi in Eldoret and Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.
Speaking in Bomet County during the commissioning of an Oncology Centre at Longisa County hospital, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki pointed out that the country had only 26 cancer doctors hence the need to train more.
“Cancer is the leading non-communicable killer disease in the country and can only be managed if the disease was diagnosed early by trained medics,” Mrs Kariuki stated.
The CS said that the government had embarked on a serious programme to decentralise cancer treatment to counties.
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She said Moi Teaching Hospital had embarked on the training of clinical officers and nurses on cancer treatment and management which will go hand in hand in identifying the disease at formative stages where it can be managed locally instead of travelling overseas.
The CS said that Longisa Cancer Centre was one of the ten centres opened recently to assist patients to get chemotherapy treatment apart from the two national referral hospitals.
“Longisa is opened today in responding to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive during the funeral service of the second Bomet Governor Dr Joyce Laboso on 2nd of August this year as you are aware that our late sister succumbed to cancer,” CS said.
The new centre will be mentored by Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in collaboration with Kenyatta national hospitals who will be sending doctors to the centre to attend to patients.
“The cancer centre will be providing for Chemotherapy treatment but patients will undergo radiotherapy treatment at Kenyatta national hospital,” she said.
Kariuki added that,” we will procure equipment to MTRH radiology department which will be providing radiotherapy treatment for patients from the western region by December this year.”
Bomet Governor Dr. Hillary Barchok thanked the national government for the good gesture and promised that his government will increase the financial budget for the department of health services.
“This centre will assist the over 200 patients from this county who travel over several kilometers to Eldoret monthly for cancer treatments,” he said.
Dr. Barchok appealed to the national government to upgrade Longisa County hospital to level five to enable the hospital to provide for specialized services as it also serves other neighbouring counties of Narok, Nakuru and Nyamira.
He lamented that the directive by the national government that all medical supplies must be procured exclusively from the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) will adversely affect the delivery of services in hospitals managed by county governments across the country.
Dr. Barchok said that if the directive is not rescinded then specialised areas like renal unit would grind to a halt as some drugs and reagents were not available at KEMSA.
Dr. Joseph Sitonik, the County Executive in charge of Medical Services and Public Health said a number of medical staff including an oncologist, clinical officers, nurses, and pharmacy technicians had been trained while others were undergoing training at MTRH.
He said Longisa Centre which started a week ago had offered various services to 19 patients and 10 others were attended to today during the CS visit.
The function was attended by Bomet County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding, Senator Dr Christopher Langat, Bomet East Member of Parliament Beatrice Kones and Baringo Woman Representative Ms Gladwel Cheruiyot among others.