|The county government of Marsabit has established a cancer screening and treatment clinic at the Marsabit Referral Hospital bringing hope to area residents and those from neighbouring regions.
Governor Mohamud Ali has consequently petitioned the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to put in place security measures that would help in stopping the banditry menace which he regretted was negating gains made in the health sector.
Ali who officiated at the launch of the cancer treatment centre at the hospital said his government would continue to provide sufficient budgetary allocation and personnel to the department of health for efficient control of the rising cases of cancer in the county.
The county government allocated a budget of Sh 2.2 billion to the health sector in the current financial year which translates to 28 per cent of the total revenue allocation.
The governor noted that with the operationalization of the cancer screening clinic, Marsabit county Referral Hospital had become a one stop point for specialized and quality health services not only to the residents but also neighbouring counties.
He expressed concern that the cancer disease was a thorn in the flesh of Marsabit residents who have had to seek medical assistance in Nairobi and other parts of the country with little success due to lack of information and financial constraints.
The clinic, apart from doing diagnostic work would also act as a source of information about the disease so that people could seek screening to know their status and if necessitating get treatment at the right time.
“I urge my people to make use of this unique facility as all services would be offered free of charge,” Governor Ali appealed and urged the residents to go for early examination if the illness is to be managed efficiently.
Regarding security, Ali lamented that armed banditry and presence of illicit firearms was not only decimating innocent lives but also slowing development.
The governor said while efforts and investments were being done to save lives through such facilities like the cancer unit, insecurity was reversing the gains and challenged the relevant authorities to arrest the situation.
County First Ladies Association (CFLA) has been instrumental in the setting up of the centre together with other players including the national and county governments, the International Cancer Institute (ICI) and the Women for Cancer.
CFLA chairperson Maria Mbeneka Muriithi of Laikipia County led a battalion of 10 members among them Edna Lenku of Kajiado county who called on pastoralists to seek conventional mode of treatment for cancer instead of depending on herbal medicine.
Mrs. Lenku said that efficacy of the medical equipment at the cancer unit would enable the medical personnel to offer fast and accurate diagnosis and treatment.
She added that modern technology stands out as the best solution to the cancer of the cervix, breast and that of the throat which was largely a bother in Marsabit County.
Marsabit governor’s spouse Alamitu Jattani encouraged Marsabit residents to present themselves for testing against cancer, saying early detection and treatment was the most effective way of combating the killer disease.
Ms Jattani appreciated that Marsabit was the 7th county to operationalize a cancer screening and treatment centre with the support of Empower project spearheaded by CFLA and urged parents and guardians to take their daughters who have attained the age of ten years for vaccination against the disease.
She pointed out that timely screening as well as proper diet was important in managing cancer illnesses.
A cancer survivor and a staff at the Marsabit referral hospital, Abdub Liban who has been traveling to Nairobi to attend clinic said the cost and inconvenience involved was not only deterring but unaffordable.
He expressed optimism that the launch of the centre would enable patients to access the essential service with ease in an effective and sustainable manner.
Kirinyaga County governor’s spouse Kamotho Waiganjo sent a donation of 300 cancer testing kits, while the Africa Cancer Foundation gave information materials on cancer.
The occasion was also attended by 10 county governors spouses including Nazi Kivutha (Makueni), Saline Barchok (Bomet), Christine Mvurya (Kwale), Dorothy Nyong’o (Kisumu), Stellah Samboja (Taita Taveta), Ivy Bunei (Baringo) while Ann Kimemia of Nyandarua sent a representative.
International Cancer Institute CEO Prof. Chite Asirwa and the Marsabit deputy governor Solomon Gubo, Women for Cancer chairperson Catherine Wachira and the head of Non-Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health Headquarters Dr. Ejersa Waqo also graced the occasion.
by Sebastian Miriti