Eleven public hospitals will start offering special care for terminally ill Kenyans with cancer, stroke and diabetes.
The three conditions have joined Aids as the major killers in the country today.
Called palliative care, and aimed at relieving a patient from pain, make them feel better and supported, the programme will be rolled out in provincial and district hospitals in areas with high cases of cancer, diabetes and heart-related conditions.
The initiative, a collaboration between the government and the Kenya Hospice and Palliative Care Association (Kehpca), promises to put an additional 4,000 new adult cancer patients and 5,000 adult Aids patients under palliative care within the first year.
“We also project that an additional 500 and 1,000 new child cancer and HIV patients respectively will receive palliative care through the new hospital units each year,” Kehpca national co-ordinator Zipporah Ali says.
The programme will train 220 health workers in palliative care as government fights non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The new government initiative seeks to deal with the rising rate of people living long with HIV and other chronic conditions.
“Effective palliative care results in patients spending more time at home and reduces the number of hospital inpatient days,” Dr Ali says.
Last year, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation upgraded its national family planning guidelines to meet current World Health Organisation‘s status, which require the screening of cancers that affect reproductive organs.
“Screening for these cancers should be integrated in the counselling services, and arrangements should be made for referral of positive cases for appropriate management.”
Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o said recently the government had set aside Sh350 million for breast and cervical cancer screening.