Cancer is ranked the third largest killer disease in our country sweeping the rich and the poor, the young and the old as well as the learned and the illiterate.
A good number of South Rift leaders and thousands of residents have been diagnosed with this destroyer disease. Due to the high cost associated with it, the moneyed seek treatment abroad while the poor are left counting their days on earth at home.
Yes, this precarious killer needs to be declared a National disaster and given colossal attention it deserves but the health sector is fully devolved and reserves billions of money that should be used to establish state of the art cancer diagnosis and treatment centers.
Just like HIV/Aids, the tortuous disease has no cure but oncologists say if diagnosed at an early stage; it can be suppressed and cured.
The best scientists have never found its cause for the purposes of prevention but grapevine speculations term it a lifestyle threat brought by the foodstuffs and the drinks consumed on a daily basis.
According to the latest victim Bob Collymore and many others who have spoken about it, it is costly and needs a lot of money to diagnose, treat and even maintain.
Hundreds of Kenyan leaders are reportedly suffering of this bug and routinely travel to India and European countries for treatment. Those that were diagnosed early managed to suppress the killer and are now going on well with life.
Unfortunately, millions of poor people in this political country are susceptible to succumb to this epidemic because there are no local and affordable facilities at the county level to diagnose and treat them.
“It is embarrassing that many people are perishing to this disease that can be prevented when the top leadership of the country is busy doing politics of referendum and 2022 instead of embarking resources and efforts to make specialized services and treatment accessible and affordable to ordinary citizens” a Kericho resident who has lost a family member to the disease recounted
The rich people who should use the National Assembly, Senate and County Government kitty to champion for the establishment of regional cancer centers, afford foreign treatment using their handsome salaries and insurance covers offered to them and their families.
Radom statistics were done by Famous South Rift and show that many patients from Kericho, Bomet, Narok, and Nakuru are diagnosed with the disease at the advance stage and despite no hope for a cure, they are still asked for millions of money to buy drugs and chemotherapy.
Our quick research shows that Nakuru Provincial General Hospital, Kericho County Referral and Longisa County Referral that are the only government facilities expected to handle this terminal disease but has not been adequately equipped with facilities, drugs, and oncologists.
“Despite the millions of devolved money, no visible facelift has been done in our hospitals. It there was, we could see our leaders visiting these local facilities for treatment” Judy Mabwai from Nakuru said
After his daughter succumbed to blood cancer, former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto purchased a five-acre piece of land for a cancer Centre at Kiptulwa area near Longisa but according to an insider in Bomet County Government, the project stalled when the new administration took over for political reasons.
The expensive Tenwek Mission Hospital that used to be the sole hope for locals is allegedly able to detect but not able to treat “Tenwek diagnosed my brother with colon cancer, told him to receive Christ and go back home to wait for his day,” Wesly Kirui said
Eng. John Mosonik said, if the government’s 2017-2022 the National Cancer Strategy strategic plan to mitigate morbidity and mortality of cancer through the Kenya National Cancer Control will be effectively implemented by constructing at least eight modern cancer centers, more lives would be saved.
He encouraged locals to regularly go for cancer screenings whenever campaigns are announced so that in case of a positive diagnosis, they can be saved.
Kericho County Chief Officer in charge of Health Mr. David Ekuwam said, his department is planning to establish a Cancer center at Kericho County Referral during the 2018/19 financial year.
He added that they have sent some of their medical officers for oncology training while they intensify free cancer screening campaigns across the county.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Kenya has the highest number of cancer-related deaths across East Africa. Cancer kills 32,987 Kenyans a year, an estimated 40 percent of the 83,426 deaths reported in the three EA countries of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Tanzania comes second with 28,610 cases while Uganda had the least deaths with 21,829 or slightly above 25 percent of all the cases reported by the three countries.
Over-stretched facilities to serve an increasing number of patients and lack adequate funding to set up treatment centers are the major challenges facing the region. Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), the largest referral facility in Eastern and Central Africa, is already strained by the high number of Kenyans flocking its cancer treatment facility.
The hospital has been forced to treat patients from neighbouring countries. Kenya ha 47,887 new cancer cases every year or 39 percent of the 122, 564 infections, followed by Tanzania with 42,060, while Uganda has 32,617.