NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – The Kenyatta National Hospital’s (KNH) paediatric cancer ward has received a Sh3 million face lift through the assistance of the Israeli embassy.
Israeli Ambassador to Kenya Jacob Keidar said on Thursday that this was done to improve the quality of care for children suffering from cancer at the hospital as well as mark the 63rd anniversary of Israel’s independence.
“With that money we managed to do quite a lot… actually to renovate the whole ward including an isolation room complete with new beds and furniture, entertainment room, showers and toilets, hot water, tiles and we can bring joy to the children here, which is the most important thing,” the ambassador said.
Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o noted that there was need for a national cancer awareness campaign to sensitise the Kenyan population on the disease.
He also expressed disappointment at resistance to the proposed National Social Health Scheme saying it had derailed the provision of quality healthcare to the poor Kenyans.
“I was shocked that I got opposition from two quarters that I did not expect opposition from and that is the Federation of Kenya Employers and the Central Organisation of Trade Unions. I was only left with peasants in front to defend me,” the Minister said.
“How can workers and employers not rise up to the philosophy of anyone who can afford it must give charity to the poor?” he posed.
At the same time KNH called for the establishment of a Cancer Institute to deal with the rising cases of cancer in the country.
The Chairperson of the KNH Board of Directors Margaret Wanjohi said this would help minimise delayed diagnosis, treatment and reduce the socio economic burden experienced by most cancer patients.
“Cancer treatment centres we feel should also be set up in strategic areas within the country where services can be offered at the convenience of the patients,” she said.
Acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Charles Kabetu said the hospital received between 3,000 and 4,000 new cancer patients annually and it took about eight weeks for the new patients to be attended to.
“There is no fund that has been set aside to help take care of cancer patients and our appeal is for all of us who are mindful of the welfare of children and adults with cancer to partner with us and the government so that at least we can provide services to these patients,” Dr Kabetu appealed.
KNH is the only public health facility that offers cancer treatment in Kenya. It costs Sh9, 000 to go through six weeks of radiotherapy and Sh24, 000 to go through the recommended six courses of chemotherapy.