President Uhuru Kenyatta Friday announced a raft of measures the government is taking to combat cancer including a plan to increase budgetary allocation.
The President made the announcement at the memorial service of the late Bomet Governor Dr Joyce Cherono Laboso held at Bomet Green Stadium in Bomet town. The late leader succumbed to cancer.
The President who was joined at the solemn event by Deputy President Dr William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the budgetary increase is meant to scale up both preventative and curative cancer management services across the country.
Noting that the rising cancer cases in the country are getting out of hand, the Head of State said the government will increase the number of chemotherapy and radiology centres across the country to make the services more accessible.
“We will add three more radiology centres across the country. We will have one in Garissa, another one in Mombasa and the third one in Nakuru,” President Kenyatta announced.
“We will also have 10 more chemotherapy centres in Mombasa, Kisumu, Kakamega, Garissa, Nyeri, Nakuru, Meru and Machakos among other counties,” he continued.
The President disclosed that the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret will be upgraded to become a centre of excellence for cancer treatment and training for upcoming medical professionals in oncology so that they can help in the fight against the disease.
“The ultra-modern Kenyatta University Hospital will be opened next month. This also will have a facility for treating cancer. We will add two more centres of excellence for the treatment of cancer – one in Kisii and another one in Nyeri which will be ready by next year,” the President said.
To enhance the human resource capacity to deal with the scourge, the President revealed that the government is currently training 20 cancer doctors, 28 clinical officers and 31 radiologists.
“When these complete their training, we will take more for training so that all these centres will have young specialists who will be able to help our people manage this disease,” he said.
The Head of State assured the residents of Bomet County that by September this year the government will have set up a chemotherapy centre at Longisa Hospital.
As the Government works to increase access to cancer treatment in the country, the President advised Kenyans to pay special attention to their lifestyles especially the foods they consume.
He noted that cancer is largely a lifestyle disease and advised Kenyans to reduce the intake of processed foods and go back to eating traditional wholesome foods.
“We need to start looking into some of these things and get back to the basics because this disease was not as widespread in the past as it is now. Our life style is not what it was in the past. So we need to look at what is it that we do today that our forefathers never did that is causing this disease to spread,” he said.
Deputy President Ruto described the late Bomet Governor as a courageous and brave leader.
“Not many men could compete against Isaac Rutto let alone women. But Joyce’s decision to take on Isaac Rutto on a political duel confirmed to me the phrase that what men can do, women can do better,” the DP Ruto said.
He said exemplary performance by late governor confirmed that women are equal to the leadership task when given the opportunity.
Dr Ruto said going forward, Kenyans should give more women leaders a chance saying, “they have demonstrated, beyond doubt, their capabilities that they can lead”.
Former PM Raila Odinga urged Kenyans to shun tribalism and corruption, saying the late Bomet Governnor has left behind an enduring legacy that should be emulated.
Other speakers included Council of Governors Chairman and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Kericho Governor Prof. Paul Chepkwony, National Assembly Majority Leader Adan Duale and his Senate counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen.