Kenya launches $416mn healthcare scheme

NAIROBI – The Kenyan government on Friday announced a $416-million project to improve healthcare in the East African country.

"Today, we inaugurate a program through which people with cancer, diabetes or kidney failure will receive much-needed relief and begin to work towards regaining their full health with more confidence," President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the program's launch.

The project, which is being fully financed by the Kenyan government, will focus on improving the state of Kenyan hospitals and equipping them with modern equipment to treat cancer, kidney failure and diabetes.

Kenyatta said the project would involve equipping 98 Kenyan hospitals with state-of-the-art medical equipment.

"My government has dedicated sufficient resources to ensuring that Kenyans have access to modern, effective and high-quality treatment in their counties," he said.

"All counties will have one Level-4 and one Level-5 hospital equipped with [operating] theater, laboratory, renal, intensive care and radiology equipment," Kenyatta said.

He added that the Kenyan government would contract international companies to handle installation, maintenance and replacement of equipment.

"Each county will now have at least two full-fledged diagnostic centers where you can receive proper screening and effective treatment," Kenyatta said.

The president went on to assure Kenyans that the new healthcare scheme was not a one-off.

"The necessary budget arrangements are in place; every year we shall make available 38 billion shillings [roughly $420 million] to deliver health services to our people," he said.

Each year, more than 27,000 Kenyans lose their lives to cancer, according to the Kenyan Health Ministry.

The ministry has also warned that the number of unreported cancer cases could rise to 80,000.

Currently, there are only four radiation centers in Kenya – all in Nairobi – making cancer treatment a challenge for those living outside the capital.

Kenya also faces a shortage of doctors experienced in cancer treatment.

Earlier this year, Egypt promised to train 50 Kenyan doctors on cancer treatment for children.

Egypt also promised to donate four dialysis machines to Nairobi's Kenyatta National Hospital.

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