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Health CS unveils Sh1bn diabetes project

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has launched a Sh1billion four-year project aimed at integrating diabetes and hypertension into primary health care in the country.

The CS said the project, funded by the World Diabetes Fund, marked a major milestone in the management and care of diabetes patients, saying it was timely as the country strengthened its primary health care services.

Speaking at the Iten County Referral Hospital during celebrations to mark World Diabetes Day on Tuesday, the CS said the funds will go towards capacity-building community health promoters (CHPS) to ensure they undertake proper testing of diabetes.

Noting that diabetes can be managed with the right treatment, the CS regretted that out of the four million people living with diabetes in the country, only 40 per cent are on treatment, while the majority of Kenyans have never had their sugar levels checked, highlighting the importance of training CHPs to test at the household level.

Nakhumicha added that all CHPs have been sensitised on the importance of referring patients to hospitals, saying doctors shouldn’t worry that their jobs are at risk.

Noting that dialysis was not sustainable due to exorbitant costs, the CS said her ministry was sensitising people with kidney failure, especially those still young, to go for kidney transplants, saying under the Social Health Insurance Act, the insurance will be paying for kidney transplants, including pre- and post-care services.

She hailed partners for their role in the management of diabetes, saying the country has so far established six centres of excellence for diabetes in the country, which act as regional hubs in offering comprehensive care and also act as learning centres.

The CS added that the ministry was focusing on the management of children and adolescents, whom she said bore the brunt of the disease, saying so far they were offering insulin and other supplies to 4,000 patients.

She, however, said that though donors are key in the management of health, they should ensure that they align their programmes with government priorities, saying some donors were shuttling health personnel from one seminar to another, which ended up affecting the delivery of services.

“Some donors have been taking our doctors from one seminar to another, such that it’s hard to find a doctor to attend to patients as she or he is in seminars for days on end,” she said.

The CS pledged to work with all governors to ensure improved delivery of health services, adding that the paper work for the payment of stipends to CHPs was ready and was only awaiting signing.

The area Governor Wisley Rotich called on the ministry to assist the county in equipping the dialysis unit, saying the county has only five dialysis machines, with Iten County Referral Hospital receiving 2,000 cases of diabetes annually.

The function was also attended by the Director General of Health, Dr. Patrick Amoth, WDF senior director Sanne Helt, and Elgeyo Marakwet County Commissioner John Korir, among others.

By Alice Wanjiru

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