Kibra MP Ken Okoth and Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso. [Standard]

Senators have urged the Government to make cancer treatment free under the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme.

The lawmakers expressed concern over the rising cases of cancer deaths and called for free treatment. Cancer is now considered the third biggest cause of deaths in Kenya.

The Senators spoke as they eulogised Kibra MP Ken Okoth and Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso, both who died of cancer. They said focus should be on cancer prevention rather than the cure.

“The only way to safeguard the lives of the common people is through the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). We need to make NHIF cover cancer treatment,” said Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr called for more public discourse on cancer.

“We should not suffer in silence,” he said.

More research

Uasin Gishu Senator Margret Kamar called for more Government-funded research on the disease, while nominated Senator Alice Milgo challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare it a national disaster.

In the National Assembly, MPs Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Town) accused leaders of burying their heads in the sand. “We only discuss cancer when we lose leaders. We don’t discuss it when millions of Kenyans die in our villages. We must provide budgetary allocations to fight this disease," he said.

Minority Leader John Mbadi (Suba South) described Okoth and Laboso's deaths as a huge loss.

“Ken was respected by all members; Laboso was a very strong leader," he said.

Kuresoi North MP Moses Cheboi called for less talk and more action on cancer.

“It is high time we upped our game. MPs can go abroad for treatment, but our constituents cannot afford even an air ticket to India," he said