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Residents raise concern over delays in disposing of asbestos materials

Asbestos roofing. [Courtesy]

A section of residents in Lodwar town, Tukana County, have raised concern over delays in disposing of asbestos roofing materials.

They claimed that the materials that were commonly used for roofing have now been cited to cause cancer and that despite being banned, they are not been disposed of well.

For years, they claimed, asbestos roofing sheets have been lying at the Lodwar County Referral Hospital despite demands by health experts for safe disposal to curb risks of exposing residents to health hazards.

Lodwar residents led by David Logiron claimed that despite the county government allocating Sh4 million and removing asbestos sheets from roofs, it is yet to dispose them.

"The heaping of asbestos sheets near the hospital’s wards could still be a factor in the upsurge of cancer cases in the region," claimed Mr Logiron.

Another resident, Joyce Akiru, wondered why with the proposed budget that indicated removal and disposal of the asbestos, there are still heaps of the sheets at the hospital.

During a one-day medical camp last month at the hospital that was organised by Mediheal Group of Hospitals, more than 100 patients were diagnosed with advanced cancer.

Mr Chandra Mohan, a general surgeon at Mediheal Group in Eldoret, said most patients were diagnosed with advanced Stage IV cancer.

County National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) Coordinator Jacob Asebo said the asbestos sheets were to be removed by licensed handlers after a public sensitization process.

When contacted for comment, County Health Executive Jane Ajele and Chief Officer Augustine Lokwang declined to clarify on the concerns raised by locals.