More investment is needed for Universal Health Care

The recent sudden and sad demise of business acumen and former Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore was not only a loss to Kenya but also did it create poignant memories to many people around the globe.

This was evidenced today; if the large number of people, led by dignitaries from all over the world attending his memorial service in Nairobi, is anything to go by. The memorial service was also televised live by many of the major TV stations.

Collymore has contributed immensely to the economy of Kenya and business development in Africa while at the same time creating extensive networks among various organisations working towards a common goal. He was also a sustainability champion who adopted and integrated the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into his way of conducting business.

His untimely departure has created disconsolateness to those who knew him; but according to his close friends who spent the last few moments of his life with him, it is not a moment to mourn. Collymore died of Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a rare type of cancer. He had allegedly known from his doctors that his prognosis was low and thus was quite prepared for his passing.

He ostensibly had intimated that he had lived his life to the fullest, albeit with a few normal regrets. He had also mentioned that when the reality of cancer comes in, “the thought of death is inevitable.”

Cancer is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the world today.Globally, Cancer causes more deaths than HIV, TB and Malaria combined. World Health Organisation reports that it is the second leading cause of death globally and was responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. That means that 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer.

The National Cancer Control Strategy under the Kenya Ministry of Health says that cancer is the third leading cause of death after infectious and cardiovascular diseases. Kenya cancer network estimates that there are about 39,000 new cases of the disease each year with more than 27,000 deaths per year.

Evidently, the disease is a menace that has been reported to siphon the resources, health and even the lives of millions of people. A significant number of people today know a person who has been affected before; either getting a friend or relative with the disease. The key question of whether this ailment has or will find a cure emanates.

Collymore’s friends have reported that he received very superior medical care in the United Kingdom. The treatment the doctors were administering to him was more of a bone marrow transplant. It was largely experimental but with high chances of working. His blood however could not cope with the treatment.

The cancer cells in the blood unfortunately merged with the normal blood cells. Not many hospitals in the world are able to offer this kind of diagnosis and treatment.

This therefore means that more resources should be put into the treatment of cancer. When detected early enough, chances of recovery are high. Governments and private hospitals.


The views expressed in this article do not represent the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s Opinion.


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