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President unveils cancer centre at Coast, promises four other facilities

President Uhuru Kenyatta leads Doctors and Coast leaders to cut a ribbon during the official opening of Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital Cancer Treatment Centre in Mombasa on February 8, 2022.[Omondi Onyango, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday commissioned a modern cancer treatment centre for the Coast region and promised to launch four similar facilities in other counties.

While opening the facility built through a partnership between the State and counties, the President said the cooperation of the two levels of government will help cut infrastructures problems in the sector.

The other cancer treatment centres will be opened in Nakuru, Garissa, Kisumu and Nyeri from next month. “Cancer patients in the Coast region will not have the burden of seeking treatment in Nairobi or India. They will access the services here in Mombasa,” he said.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said the cooperation has transformed the health sector in Mombasa, noting that patients were now being referred to the Coast General Teaching and Referral hospital from private hospitals.

“This is the best hospital in Mombasa. For the first time in history, patients from private hospitals are referred here. We are overwhelmed by referrals. Doctors from private hospitals want to work here. It is as a result of working with the national government,” Joho said.

SPECIALISED HOSPITAL

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the regional cancer treatment centre was similar to hospitals in India and the US.

“This is a specialised hospital. You have witnessed what happens in India or the US. We will soon open similar hospitals in Nakuru, Garissa, Kisumu and Nyeri,” Kagwe said, adding that the health sector transformation is a result of President Kenyatta’s good political leadership.

On Monday, President Kenyatta launched the upscaled Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at Port Reitz hospital in Mombasa which will cover 47 counties.

President Kenyatta yesterday appealed to Kenyans to register with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to enable them to access health services.

He said the transformation of hospitals will be in vain if Kenyans cannot access services due to high costs.

“It costs Sh2 million and above to get cancer treatment in India. But with the NHIF card, one can get treatment without paying a shilling. You should get the NHIF card because you cannot tell when you will be sick or get involved in an accident. The cost of treatment can impoverish a family,” he said.

The president said he came across a man whose Sh400,000 bill had been paid for by NHIF. Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said the facility has eased the burden of travelling to Nairobi and abroad for treatment, supported by MPs Badi Twalib and Mishi Mboko.