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These non-communicable illnesses need more money

By Daniel Otieno, Nairobi | May 23rd 2017

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases are the four main non-communicable ailments taking a toll on the lives of both children and adults.

Young people, owing to their eating habits and lifestyles, bear the biggest burden of these diseases.According to the WHO non-communicable diseases country profiles of 2014, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases account for a bigger percentage among men and women below 70 years.

This conclusion suggests that more men may be engaging in alcohol and tobacco use than women as these two factors are responsible for lung diseases. In light of these factors, several strategies are necessary. First, we must make health services available and affordable to all.

Our health facilities must have the equipment and drugs required. With devolution, it is time we also ensured that there are adequate financial allocations for the treatment of these diseases.

The Abuja Declaration requires that 15 per cent of the national budget be allocated to health. This allocation in Kenya currently stands at five per cent.

Mandatory prepayment will also ensure everyone with or without symptoms contributes to the financing of health, as is done with the National Hospital Insurance Fund. Point-of-care fees for non-communicable diseases must also be eliminated to ensure affordable health. Political goodwill can ensure equitable distribution of health resources.

With transparency and accountability in managing health funds, counties will have enough resources to meet the demands of the population. Implementing these provisions will take us a long way in fighting and eliminating these diseases.

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