Release medical equipment to counties

Reports that majority of counties are yet to receive the modern medical equipment leased a year ago by the national government, are discouraging to say the least.

Last month, Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu said that 46 out of the 47 counties had signed the lease agreement forms for the equipment which were acquired at a cost of Sh38 billion.

He said although Bomet County was yet to sign the lease agreement forms, the national government would supply the equipment to hospitals in the county nonetheless.

Yet during a meeting of Council of Governors in Naivasha on Friday, the governors revealed that only three of the 46 counties have received the equipment so far.

Dr Mailu owes the governors and Kenyans a credible reason for the inordinate delay to supply these much-needed equipment to hospitals across the country.

Although he has promised that the machines will be delivered by June 30, it is hard to see how the ministry will beat this deadline considering the time it takes to fix and test the equipment to operational standards.

When it unilaterally launched the leasing programme amid misgivings by the governors, the national government touted it as the best way of dealing with the chronic crisis in the health sector.

This crisis has been marked by lack of medicine, few and poorly remunerated personnel, among them nurses and doctors, and the lack of facilities, especially modern medical equipment.

It was envisaged that the arrival of these machines would make it possible for key hospitals in counties to diagnose, treat and manage life-threatening and terminal diseases such as cancer.

Cancer is now the third highest cause of death in Kenya accounting for seven per cent of all deaths, according to statistics from the Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations.

Lack of modern equipment to diagnose the disease and lack of radiotherapy equipment to treat it has seen many cancer patients, especially from low-income families, succumb to the disease yet some of them could have been treated if only there were modern facilities in public hospitals.

It is therefore imperative that the national government delivers the equipment to county hospitals sooner rather than later to the benefit of millions of suffering Kenyans who need them the most.