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Medics to KNBS-help Kenya to establish data base for non-communicable diseases

Medical practitioners in Nakuru County have called on the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) to partner with agencies in the health sector to establish a National Data base centre for Non-Communicable diseases.
The Country, the medics observed, lacks a mature non communicable diseases data base centre which made it difficult to know the exact number of cases in Kenya adding that the country relied on statistics issued by the World Health Organisation and raw figures collected from Nairobi, Kijabe and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital registries.
Speaking at a Medical Camp organised by the Presbyterian Church in East Africa (PCEA) in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Beyond Zero and the County Government of Nakuru at the Dr. Arthur Parish, Clinical Nutritionist Arthur Gichuru noted fifty eight percent of deaths recorded in Nakuru during the 2017/2018 period were caused by Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), new data from the County government reveals.
The figure is above the national average as official statistics released by the Health Cabinet Secretary (CS), Sicily Kariuki indicate that during the period, the ailments were responsible for over 55 per cent of deaths in Kenya and further accounted for more than 50 per cent of hospital admissions.
“The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics has the expertise and manpower to collect incidents of these diseases which we hope they will be captured on questionnaires to be administered during the National Housing and Population Census.
Timely propagation of non communicable disease surveillance data to the policy makers and scientists responsible for designing, implementing, and evaluating cancer prevention and control activities is vital.
Accurate figures will help Kenya plan for resources and create benchmarks for hospitals in improving quality of health care,” said Gichuru.
During the medical camp’s first day over 300 residents were screened for diabetes, chronic kidney diseases, cancer, hypertension, asthma and arthritis.
Ms Miriam Wairimu Maina, one of the nurses involved in the camp indicated that about 25 percent of residents seen on the first day were found to have health complications arising out of non-communicable diseases.
“We are witnessing a spiraling incident of Non Communicable ailments in the Country. This is a wakeup call to develop standardised data collection tools so as to increase access to evidence based information on prevention, screening and early diagnosis,” she suggested.
According the County Chief Officer Medical Services, Dr. Solomon Sirma out of the 2,434,976 deaths registered during the 2017/2018 1,411,928 were caused by life style ailments such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Most of the casualties were aged 60 years and above.
“We have to address lifestyle diseases with renewed vigour and heavy investments in research and public awareness campaigns. These otherwise preventable conditions are significantly reducing life expectancy of Nakuru residents. The young are succumbing to the diseases at a very productive age, while the not so elderly people in their 60s are dying prematurely,” observed the Chief Officer.
Data from the Strategic and Investment Plan- 2018-2022, reveals that out of the estimated 2,180,000 of the county’s population in 2018, those aged 65 years and above stood at 58,860 representing a mere 2.7 percent.
Coordinator of the camp Nduta Wagathu called on Kenyans to change their perception of non-communicable disease as a death sentence and asserted that most cancers were either treatable or manageable if diagnosed early.
She called on Kenyans to adopt healthy habits by watching their diet, going for regular medical checkups and avoiding sedentary lifestyles.
By Anne Mwale/Dennis Rasto

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