By Isah Asesa
The County Government of Elgeyo Marakwet has appealed to the National Government for more financial support in mitigating the high rising cases of cancer in the area.
The County Health Executive Kiprono Chepkok, raised concern over the rising prevalence of cancer ailment in the county saying that there was a lot to be done yo fight the menace.
“Cancer needs to be declared a national disaster and more money be allocated to counties like Elgeyo Marakwet to manage cancer cases,” said Chepkok.
The executive said the health department has lately been doing community campaigns to sensitize people on the benefits of early diagnosis and cancer management.
Two weeks ago, the county launched a ward to ward cancer screening exercise which he Chepkok says is aimed at making sure that cases of late diagnosis are avoided.
According to the health department, the exercise is so far successful as they have been able to identify some cancer incidents in their early stages and enrolled the patients into medication to manage them.
Most of cancer patients in the county reportedly still seek medical attention from Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.
Chepkok attributes this to lack of enough funding to manage cancer cases and to install oncology equipment in county’s major hospital.
“We don’t have an oncology lab and an MRI machine in Iten county referral hospital. We still depend on Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital for much of our cancer related management,” said Chepkok.
Elgeyo Marakwet is one among a number of counties that recently failed to benefit from medical equipment supplied by the national government due to lack of personnel.
This even as the county expressed concern over underfunding from the national government annually.
Health department in the county gets an allocation of Sh300 million against the Sh3.7 billion which the county receives annually from the national government.
“This is not enough. Our budget as the department of health is Sh1.5 billion. If we are to properly manage the rising cases of cancer and other diseases in the county, the government should consider increasing funds,” he said.
He says the national government should give them a special grant to help the manage cancer treatment in the county.
The county’s director of medical services Dr. Kosgey Patrick said the county is doing mapping on how to successfully cover the cancer awareness exercise which he hopes will change the situation.
On Sunday, the Non Governmental Organizations of Kenya lauded the Government announcement to enhance the fight against Cancer in Kenya.
“The announcement by President Uhuru Kenyatta to increase cancer screening centers across the country is a step in the direction for the country,” said Stephen Cheboi, National Chairman.
He went on, “We applaud the move and urge national and county Government to step up efforts to deal with cancer menace in the country.”