Eight chemotherapy centres are set for construction in Kenya; this is in line with the health ministry’s race to create what could be a regional hub for cancer treatment.
Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki, confirmed the reports and said that the five-year project which begins this financial year seeks to have basic cancer treatment capability in the 47 counties under the National Cancer Control Strategy 2017 – 2022.
“Our eventual target as government is to have capability in this country and that we not only become the provider for ourselves, but a regional hub,” she said.
Developments of the chemotherapy centres
The developments of the facilities will help ease pressure on Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital – the two public facilities with equipment for treating cancer, but which are strained. Most cancer patients face difficulties accessing treatment in Kenya due to limited facilities which number about 12, including private ones.
The ministry anticipates that if the strategies and interventions are well articulated then the dream will be a reality in the next five years. This will also attract tourists who are coming to Kenya for medical tourism.
However, this is not the first time that the Kenyan government is promising to set up the cancer centres. In 2015, the ministry said such facilities would be set up in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nyeri, Eldoret, and Kisumu.
Empowering county and sub county hospitals
Cancer is the third top killer disease in Kenya after pneumonia and malaria, with registered deaths standing at 16,953 last year, 1,191 more than in 2016; this is according to statistics from the Economic Survey 2018 show.
Under the National Cancer Control Strategy, the ministry aims to empower county and sub-county hospitals to provide surgery, chemotherapy and palliative care, including outpatient and inpatient hospice care. This will support the proposed establishment of four comprehensive regional cancer treatment centres in Mombasa, Nakuru, Nyeri and Kisii for Sh8 billion in the five-year period.