Co-Operatives Urged To Support The Health Sector By Donating Blood

The co-operatives movement in the country has been called upon to come together and support the health sector by donating blood which epitomizes the essence of co-operative principle number seven; Concern for the Community.

State Department of Co-operatives Principal Secretary (PS) Patrick Kilemi also said that blood donation is not just a noble act of charity; it is a lifeline that sustains communities explaining that every drop of blood donated can make the difference between life and death for someone in need.

Speaking on Tuesday during the kick-off of the blood donation drive organized by the Ushirika Council at the Co-operative University of Kenya, Kilemi said that this principle reminds us that co-operatives are committed to sustainable development and the well-being of their communities.

‘I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Ushirika Council for their unwavering dedication and hard work over the years. Your efforts have saved countless lives and continue to make a significant im
pact on our society. I also extend my heartfelt thanks to the university community for hosting this event and for your enthusiastic participation. Your support is crucial, and I urge everyone to turn out in large numbers to donate blood and support this life-saving initiative,’ said Kilemi.

The PS added that they are proud to align their efforts with the World Blood Donor Day 2024, organized by the World Health Organization, which will take place on the 14th of June. This global observance emphasizes the critical role that safe blood and blood products play in saving lives

‘Since we came into office we have made the Co-operative University our center of operation and it has been intentional because the university is the center of excellence for the cooperative sector. It should not be lost in our minds that our intention is to lift this university such that it becomes the center of reference for the co-operatives intellectual property,’ explained the PS.

Kilemi said that he has challenged the Cooperative A
lliance of Kenya (CAK) CEO that when they have resources they should sponsor some needy students at the Cooperatives University explaining that this symbiotic relationship should have some synergy which is mutually beneficial.

The PS revealed that they had gotten approval from the Treasury through the Public Service Commission (PSC) to recruit at the state department and they are targeting to recruit people with degrees from competent cooperative training institutions like the Co-operatives University.

Co-operative Alliance of Kenya (CAK) CEO Daniel Marube said that every year when they are celebrating the International Day for Cooperatives on 6th July, they organize blood donation drives which fall under the mandate of the co-operative of caring for one another.

Marube said that they target to get at least 500 pints of blood from the university alone. They will have another two days’ blood donation drive outside the Kenya National Archives on Wednesday and Thursday.

He called on co-operatives movement an
d Kenyans in general to donate blood explaining that one never knows when they will need blood donation or a member of their family.

‘When you donate blood it is like you are donating life to someone else since it is a lifesaving commodity and mostly required during emergencies,’ explained Marube.

Co-operatives University of Kenya Vice Chancellor (VC) Kamau Ngamau said that they have a population of over 10, 000 students as he called on the students to donate blood and reciprocate the honour they have been given to host the initiative.

‘It has been reported that we have a very serious shortage of blood in our blood banks where it is said that with our population we should have at least one million pints of blood donated annually but we are very far from that,’ said Ngamau.

The VC added that the blood donation drive at the university will go a long way in mobilizing more donations to save more lives and thanked CAK for choosing them to host the initiative.

Faith Muchugu a nurse from the Kenya Tissue and T
ransplant Authority (KTTA) called on Kenyans to turn up in large numbers at their blood donation centres across the country saying that there is a shortage of the essential commodity.

‘We urge all Kenyans to come and donate blood to save lives of fellow Kenyans like those involved in road accidents, cancer patients and mothers during delivery,’ said Muchugu.

She explained that there are various components of blood and if a person donates one pint of blood it saves three patients.

‘A man can donate four times a year that is after every three months, for a lady they can donate after every four months,’ she said.

Muchugu explained that the most crucial blood component required by cancer patients are the platelets which are removed from a donor through a special machine and the blood is taken back to their body.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Kisumu To Host Conference On Sickle Cell Disease

Kisumu County is set to host the first Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and Hemphilia conference in Kenya to take stock on the fight against the inherited blood disorders.

County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Medical Services, Public Health and Sanitation Dr. Gregory Ganda said the conference scheduled from June 12th-14th 2024 targets to create awareness and advocate for better health care amidst rising cases in the country.

SCD, a debilitating genetic blood disorder is particularly present in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In Kenya, the burden of the disease is high in the western region including the counties surrounding Lake Victoria and along the coastal strip.

Dr. Ganda said a majority of children with SCD in Africa die undiagnosed with 50-90% dying before their fifth birthday.

In Kisumu where approximately 20,000 children are born yearly, he added, it is projected that 500 of them will die of Sickle Cell anaemia within five years.

Dr. Ganda said analysis of data available at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga
Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) in Kisumu reveals that on average a sickle cell client suffers 5 episodes of crises annually with 5-10 days of hospitalization per episode.

‘That means a mother will spend 25-50 days confined in a hospital bed with her child,’ he said.

This, he observed contributes to high productivity losses exposing families to great financial risks while limiting their access to quality health.

Despite its high prevalence, SCD, he said remains one of the neglected and least prioritised health issues with the affected families and individuals struggling with significant physical, psychological and economic challenges.

The conference, the first of its kind in the country, he said will bring together renowned experts, policy makers, affected families, innovators, research institutions, academic institutions and government agencies to share best practices and formulate strategies to improve access to quality health care for the diseases.

‘The conference aims to stimulate programs th
at will create a lasting impact on the lives of those affected by the two diseases,’ he said.

Kisumu County, he said was on the forefront in addressing gaps in the management of the two diseases revealing that through partnerships, the county has rolled out universal new born screening and collaborations to establish a bone marrow transplant centre.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Plans To Phase Out NHIF Complete

The National Government has finalized plans to face out National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) in order to pave way for the introduction of Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF).

Speaking in Trans Nzoia County during the launch and dissemination exercise of the Fourth Medium Term Plan 2023-2027, Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Dr. Susan Nakhumicha revealed that the government will officially roll out the SHIF scheme on July 1, 2024 in place of the current NHIF scheme which has lasted for over 57 years.

Urging Kenyans to register into the new scheme in large numbers before the roll out, the CS said the change will present a monumental shift in the Country’s Healthcare System.

Detailing merits of SHIF over NHIF, the CS said that under the new health cover, beneficiaries with terminal illnesses will now have a reason to smile as they will be in a position to enjoy services.

Dr. Nakhumicha informed that all workers under SHIF scheme, are expected to contribute 2.75 per cent of their income to the fund as the gov
ernment covers those who cannot afford to pay for the contributions.

Self-employed or unemployed Kenyans contributing Sh500 monthly towards NHIF, will now be required to pay Sh300 under SHIF.

‘Kenya’s Constitution 2010 gives everyone the right to proper healthcare. It is in line with this the government felt the need to transform the healthcare landscape by introducing Social Health Insurance Fund. The implementation of SHIF will ensure equity and access to healthcare by covering everyone in the country unlike National Health Insurance Fund,’ she said.

On the vaccine shortage reported in the country, the CS blamed delayed payments and procurement procedures for the scarcity saying that strategies have been put in place to ensure the same scenario does not repeat in the near future.

‘We had slight hiccups in payment for the vaccine which resulted to delays in supply. However, I can confirm that the vaccines were supplied and have been dispersed to our regional stores across the country,’ she said adding th
at there is no reason for alarm.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Council Rolls Out Nation-Wide Cancer Screening For Persons With Albinism

The National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) has rolled out a free nation-wide cancer screening program for persons with albinism.

Through the program, which runs concurrently with the mapping for cases of albinism in the country, NCPWD targets to build accurate data on the number of people living with the condition with a view to supporting them with sunscreen lotion, lip care and after sun lotions.

Steve Wafula, a senior accountant at NCPWD said the exercise which is fully funded by the government seeks to identify cancer cases in people living with albinism so that they are put on treatment early to avert loss of lives.

The government, he said has released Sh100 million for the Albinism Support Program to carry out the exercise among other interventions.

‘We have buried so many people living with albinism simply because they did not have access to these services. The exchequer has already released the Sh100 million to the council for this program and we are very grateful,’ he said.

The e
xercise which is a build up to the International Albinism Awareness Day to be commemorated on June 13, 2024, he said targets to bring on board as many people living with albinism as possible to take up the services.

Wafula said a good number of them were yet to come out since the NCPWD data base indicates about 3,000 countrywide yet the 2019 census identified over 9,000 cases.

He attributed the discrepancy to poverty, with majority of those not reached unable to turn up due to financial difficulties.

The mapping exercise, he said targets to scale up the number in the NCPWD records to 5,000 this financial year and progressively move to reach the 9,000 captured during the last census.

‘We have teams covering the coastal region and we are here in the western part of the country. So far we have covered Nakuru, Kericho, Kisii and Kisumu. We are also set to do it in Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia Counties,’ he said.

Speaking during the exercise at Kibos School for the blind in Kisumu County,
Wafula said NCPWD has stocked County Referral Health facilities across the country with sunscreen lotions, lip care and after sun lotions asking people living with albinism to visit the facilities to access them free of charge.

Dr. Caleb Kadima, a dermatologist at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) said albinism which is a genetically inherited condition characterized by lack of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes can be managed with the available skin care products, protective skin clothing and eye care.

The sun, he said was the biggest enemy for people living with albinism because once exposed to the rays they develop sun burns which if not treated early can develop into skin cancer.

Those who turned up for the exercise were taken through a process called cryotherapy which involves the freezing of the sun burns using liquid nitrogen.

Dr. Kadima said the treatment is very critical so that they dry and fall off to prevent cancer.

Samples were also taken from those screened for
further examinations that those found with cancer can be put on treatment.

Dr. Beatrice Etemesi who has worked with the program since its inception in 2014 said the uptake of the services has improved tremendously.

Health workers at facilities attending to people living with disability, she said have also been trained on how to handle the cases.

‘We now have a team of dermatologists, health and eye experts to follow up on these cases,’ she said.

NCPWD Nyanza Regional Coordinator George Odhiambo said the agency was working closely with chiefs and community health workers to ensure all people living with albinism are captured.

To make the initiative a success, he added the council has introduced incentives among them education scholarships to ensure parents hiding children with albinism bring them out.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Your Phone Is Key During SHIF Registration- PS Kimtai

Smart or Cellular Phones will be used in the registration of Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) members, Principal Secretary State Department for Medical Services Hurry Kimtai has revealed.

Apart from other digital registration gadgets, PS Kimtai said that Kenyans will be able to register for new medical scheme by using their handsets after following the instructions given.

He said the Social Health Authority Fund has made it easier for Kenyans to register for SHIF by ensuring the registration process goes paperless.

‘Registration will be done at the comfort of your hand with either a smart phone or the other normal cellular phones,’ PS Kimtai told the Fourth Medium Term Plan dissemination forum at Allens Hotel, Nandi County.

He appealed to residents of Nandi County to be on the forefront in the registration of the new health scheme describing it, ‘as the greatest transformation in the health sector geared towards on boarding all Kenyans to affordable medical scheme.’

‘You people of Nandi should be on t
he forefront to register in the new health scheme. We will be communicating to you probably by 21st of this month when you will start your registration,’ he added.

For the elderly and severely disabled persons, the PS announced that Huduma Centres or Community Health Workers will be used in their registration.

Kimtai revealed that Social Health Authority Fund will from July 1st start implementing the SHIF to the benefit all Kenyans.

‘We are going to have 3 levels of funds and that is Primary Healthcare fund, the Social Health Insurance Fund and the Emergency, Chronic and Critical Illness Fund,’ he said.

The PS insisted that Social Health Authority Fund settled on the three levels of healthcare to ensure no Kenyan was left behind while seeking basic or chronic illness treatment in both public and private hospitals.

‘You can be referred to any of the level six hospitals may it be Kenyatta National Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Mathare or even Kenyatta University teaching and referral Hospit
al,’ he said.

He noted that Emergency, Chronic and Critical Illness Fund will come into place to waive the hospital bill after you’ve exhausted your account in SHIF.

‘This is a new Kenyan medical bill insurance game changer in the health sector because it steps in incase of critical illness like cancer to offset the huge bill incurred,’ he said.

Kimtai mentioned that a digital tool will be used to ascertain how each member will pay 2.75 percent upon responding to the posed questions.

‘If you are not in formal employment, you’re a farmer or you’re a businessman; we’ll calculate and those questions will tell us how much you’re supposed to pay based on profits, or expected yield,’ he went on.

Furthermore, to strengthen achievement of Universal Health Coverage as the country heads to Vision 2030, PS Kimtai hinted that the National Government has committed to pay 30 percent cost of certain equipments in county hospitals.

He said the move depicts areas of partnership between National and County Governments as
it results to a win-win situation in our health system.

Other national leaders present include; Cabinet Secretary Co-operatives and Micro Small Enterprise Simon Chelugui, PS Ministry OF Education Belio Kipsang, PS Ministry of Sports ENG Peter Tum and PS State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services Prof Julius Bitok. The leaders highlighted how their departments were implementing MTP IV in various areas.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang also present said his County Integrated Development Plan launched last year borrowed heavily on MTP IV especially on agricultural value added chain areas like dairy, tea and coffee.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Mental Health Still A Challenge, PS Muthoni

Kenyans have been urged to play a leading role in assisting those with mental problems and mobilise those with disorders to come forward for assistance in health facilities.

Health Principal Secretary (PS) Mary Muthoni said mental health can be treated and we need to help those who have been affected in the society. The illness has no symptoms and many individuals may be suffering because of challenges they experience in their daily lives.

‘We may be sick and we are not aware, walking patients. Mental illness can be treated in our health facilities and we have a duty to assist those who may be experiencing such to return to normal as well as accessing treatment,’ she said.

The PS further challenged the residents of Gichugu to embrace preventive and primitive health services by ensuring they get early checkup and detection and at same time get services at homes offered by the Community Health Promoters.

Speaking in Gichugu in Kirinyaga County the PS noted that even being in a neighborhood to a person havin
g mental problems is a problem to the whole community. She added that failure to address mental health-related issues portends significant health and socio-economic implications in terms of social capital and healthcare needs.

‘If you live next to a person with mental problem, you will not be peaceful because they keep disturbing everybody therefore it is our collective responsibility to assist the individual,’ she asserted.

She said the role of community health promoters is key as they are like first aid services which every individual should take advantage of, as the Ministry of Health is implementing Universal Health Coverage as a key pillar of the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda, where mental health will be integral for the attainment of this agenda.

PS Muthoni attributed many cases of mental health to drug substance abuse where youths in the area have been engaging in. She acknowledged the vice is still within the society calling upon parents and church to speak to the children, ensuring they
know the whereabouts of their kids at all times.

‘Our youths are in jail because of minor offences such as disturbance and cannot raise as low Sh.2000 fine, because of drugs. This is still a challenge that is still within us and I request the church, parents and teachers to advice and guide our pupils in lower ages before they get into such drugs,’ she posed.

To enhance services countrywide PS said the ministry is implementing Heath Digital Superhighway which allows exchange of patient data. This will avoid repetition of checkups and tests when an individual is referred to another facility or doctor for specialist treatment.

The PS highlighted education as a major factor that will help eradicate major challenges being experienced within the society asking the parents to take advantage of TVETs which the government is investing heavily on. She also assured the residents of Gichugu that Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) will be established within the sub-county as Kirinyaga county is the only county with
out such institution in the region.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Murang’a County To Source Drugs From MEDS

Murang’a County government has signed a pact with a Catholic owned medical supplier to boost access of drugs in local health facilities.

On Monday, County Executive Committee (CEC) Member for Health Dr. Fredrick Mbugua said they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS) so as to compliment the drugs they get from KEMSA.

Dr. Mbugua said to improve accessibility to quality health care, the partnership with MEDS would fill in the gaps where KEMSA is not able to supply what is needed.

‘KEMSA does not supply all the commodities that we require, so once in a while we will need to onboard MEDS to supply and fill in the gaps that KEMSA is not able to handle,’ said Mbugua.

Mbugua said the partnership would boost the availability of drugs and other commodities in all the health faculties in the county.

‘MEDS is a faith based organization that offers robust and resilient supply chain services which oversees the procurement, product identification, warehousing, lo
gistics and distribution of health commodities and technologies,’ he said.

He said that the county has recently spent Sh40 million to purchase a consignment of drugs and other medical commodities from KEMSA noting that they would be distributed to all health facilities as required.

‘This is an exercise we are planning to be doing every three months to make sure our health facilities are fully supplied with the drugs and commodities that they require at all times,’ said Mbugua after receiving a consignment of drugs from KEMSA at the county headquarter offices.

He divulged that health workers from all the nine sub counties were to receive their consignments, which they would distribute to their health facilities.

‘We have 157 health facilities in the county and we are expecting all of them will benefit from these consignments,’ he added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mbugua applauded the Department of Health for raising Sh360 million out of Sh1 billion that the county has raised from its own source revenue for the financ
ial year 2023-2024.

He noted that this accounted for about one third of the total own source revenue that the county has collected and that the money has enabled and facilitated the department to serve the people better.

‘With the revenue we have collected, we are now able to buy what our hospitals need and sustain this kind of purchases every three months to keep our health department running efficiently and effectively,’ he said.

Mbugua lauded the initiative of Governor Irungu Kang’ata of automating services at the medical facilities.

The automation is said to have increased revenue collected from the health facilities and streamlined procurement and distribution of drugs to all 157 health facilities in the county.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Call For Concerted Effort In Addressing The Triple Threat

Njoro legislator, Charity Kathambi has affirmed her commitment towards tackling the worrying trends of triple threat posed by new HIV infections, teen pregnancies and Gender-Based Violence calling for synergy with other stakeholders in a bid to end the menace in the community.

Speaking to locals at St Joseph Catholic church in Njoro during an event that was also attended by the National Syndemic Disease Control Council (NSDCC) team, Kathambi observed that there was need to mobilize many stakeholders and accelerate effort towards eliminating these vices that bring about the existence of the triple threat.

‘We cannot afford to sit comfortably when the lives of our young boys and girls are ruined by vices we can prevent. Time has come for us to stand up, transform commitments to action and say no to the TRIPLE THREAT!” stated Kathambi.

She further pointed out on the need of having a bold, innovative spirit and dedication to move beyond the comfort zones and dare to do things differently for better results of
having a HIV-free generation.

The locals, clergy among others present at the event were encouraged to create awareness of the three vices to effectively combat the challenges arising from this adding that the adolescents and the youths will be empowered to assist in sharing the information amongst their peers.

‘We also call for uninterrupted education with a view to prepare young women make meaningful contribution to the economy and be ambassadors of change in this fight,’ added the legislator.

NSDCC CEO, Dr Ruth Laibon Masha who noted the detrimental impact of the TRIPLE THREAT on effort to end the spread of HIV urging the locals to adhere to the HIV prevention interventions that will go a long way in reducing the prevalence rate.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Thika Level 5 Hospital To Conduct Free Fistula Medical Camp

African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) Health Africa in partnership with M-pesa Foundation will hold a week-long Fistula Camp at Thika Level 5 Hospital, from 7th June to 14th June, this year.

During the camp period fistula patients will receive free surgery, physiotherapy and medical advice.

Fistula is a debilitating condition caused by obstructed or prolonged labor often due to lack of skilled health care.

It brings about suffering and women living with it have to live with low self -esteem and are often stigmatized.

The camp will be put in place in an effort to empower women by letting them enjoy a quality and dignified life by screening for fistula, counselling and treatment.

Amref flying doctors will lead the line in providing health care for the disease that is unique to women.

Amref flying doctors’ representative Cynthia Oningoi told KNA that the camp will not only treat the disease but will also help in identifying other underlying ailments that victims may be suffering from.

She encouraged
those living with the condition to come for free medication and counselling noting: ‘These camps offer an opportunity for patients suffering from fistula to get screened and also to identify for other possible congenital ailments and subsequently get medical advice and treatment free of charge.’

Fistula, Oningoi stated is treatable and encouraged the public to alert them whenever they come across any woman with the condition.

The group is currently carrying out awareness campaigns on the treatment through radio, TV, social media and newspapers so that no woman is left behind.

Women living in rural areas are often more susceptible to the condition as a result of neglected childbirth though the condition can occur through accident or difficult childbirth.

Those living with the condition in Kenya are currently classified as persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Fistula can be prevented through proper and skilled birth attendance.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Red Eye Disease Spreads To Siaya

The Red Eye disease has spread to Siaya county and the area residents have been urged to maintain high standards of hygiene so as to contain it.

According to the Siaya county commissioner, Nobert Komora, several schools have been affected by the disease, otherwise known as Conjunctivitis.

Addressing this year’s Madaraka day celebrations at the Siaya Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) grounds in Siaya town, Komora said that his office contemplated closing down the educational institutions as a result of the disease but the decision was rescinded after consultations.

‘We wanted to close down the affected schools but after consultations with the public health department and ministry of education, it was decided that the disease can better be handled within instead of allowing students home which would otherwise contribute to its spread,’ said the commissioner.

Komora urged the public to minimize handshakes and touching their eyes as a way of avoiding the disease.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the
transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and eye ball. The membrane is called the Conjunctiva.

The county commissioner at the same time challenged Siaya residents to increase their level of patriotism and join the rest of the Kenyans in attending national celebrations.

‘It is imperative that we take our patriotism a notch higher’ said the commissioner who was flanked by among others, the county police commander, Cleti Kimaiyo and the county secretary, Joseph Ogutu who represented Siaya governor, James Orengo.

In his speech read by Ogutu, governor Orengo called on Kenyans to jealously guard devolution which he termed as a key fruit of the struggle for a better Kenya that the country’s fore fathers fought for.

‘Through devolution, your voice is heard more clearly in governance decisions that affect you and your neighbours,’ said the governor.

Orengo said Kenyans must have an honest country so that they can be able to protect the liberty and be able to use it to build a glittering Kenya.

‘We owe a great
debt to the sons and daughters of this country who fought for independence’ said the governor.

Source: Kenya News Agency