Kisumu To Establish Sickle Cell Specialist Hospital

The county government of Kisumu has secured a public-private partnership (PPP) with investors from India to set up a sickle cell specialist hospital.

Through the arrangement, specialists from India will give technical support to the county department of health to set up the facility at Victoria Hospital in Milimani.

The County Executive for Medical Services, Public Health, and Sanitation, Dr. Gregory Ganda, said the move will see Kisumu become the first county with such a facility in Kenya to give impetus to the fight against the blood disorder.

Once completed, the facility will have a centre for haematological disorders, offering cutting-edge diagnosis and treatment for sickle cell disease (SCD) and haemophilia, which have plagued the country for many years.

The facility will also offer bone marrow transplants, in addition to conducting research to help in the management of haematological diseases.

Dr. Ganda said this was in response to the rising number of SCD cases in the country, with counties surrou
nding Lake Victoria and the coastal region bearing the greatest burden of the disease.

In Kenya, it is estimated that 14,000 children are born annually with the disease, with 50-90% of them dying before their fifth birthday.

In Kisumu County, where 20,000 children are born annually, 500 of them succumb to the disease within five years.

In an interview with KNA during the Scientific Conference on Sickle Cell Disease and Haemophilia held in Kisumu, Dr. Ganda said infant screening holds the key to containing the disease.

As a result, the county government of Kisumu, with support from partners, has opened a sickle cell clinic and rolled out infant screening at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH).

‘We have installed an ultra-modern machine for testing Sickle Cell at JOOTRH, which is the first one of its kind in the country,’ he said.

The data from the facility indicates a 1.5% prevalence of the disease in the area.

‘Since this is a hereditary disease, it is important to screen
early so that as a child grows, the sickle cell trait is known. At the same time, people are also informed that if they marry a person with the same train, it will result in full-blown sickle cell disease,’ he said.

Another clinic has also been opened at Pap Onditi in Nyakach Sub-County, while several other clinics are lined up to scale up testing.

‘We are working to develop a comprehensive sickle cell programme all the way from screening, diagnosis, treatment, and bone marrow transplant,’ said Dr. Ganda.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Marsabit Leadership Urged To Push For SHIF Registration

The Cabinet secretary for health Susan Nakhumicha has called on the elected and administrative leadership in Marsabit County to carry out a campaign on social health registration among residents amid challenges facing the process.

Nakhumicha said the piloting of the registration was ongoing in order to identify hitches that could clog up the transition from the national health insurance fund (NHIF) to social health insurance fund (SHIF) set for next month.

Speaking in Marsabit when she presided over this year’s World Blood Donor’s Day celebrations, the CS asked the National Government Administrative Officers (NGAO) to join hands with the local leadership headed by Governor Mohamud Ali in sensitising wananchi on the importance of registering with the new health programme.

Nakhumicha, who also visited Dakabaricha village in the outskirts of Marsabit town to assess the piloting of the social health registration, noted that the procedure was faced with a number of challenges that needed to be addressed as a ma
tter of urgency.

Among the challenges that were identified at Waqo Jarso’s household was the lack of identity cards among locals who were previously required to undergo vetting before being issued with the all-important document.

Other drawbacks detected include lack of marriage certificates as many of locals wed traditionally, which does not undergo documentation, poor or lack of internet connectivity, and the fact that many villagers also do not own mobile phones.

The cabinet secretary asked NGAO to advance the issuance of identity cards in order to enable residents to register without any hindrances, as those who fail to join the new regime will not be able to access health care services.

She disclosed that her ministry was working closely with the internet provider, Safaricom to improve connectivity in the remote areas, while community health promoters will be tasked with registering those without cell phones.

To assist the locals in meeting the marriage certificate requirement, the CS asked chiefs t
o draft notes for those affected certifying their marital status in order to enable them to enrol in SHIF.

On blood donation, Nakhumicha called on Kenyans to continue supporting the drive, which she said assists in saving and prolonging the lives of the sick and accident victims.

The CS who was accompanied by the first daughter Charlene Ruto, acting director general for health Dr. Patrick Amoth, and social health authority (SHA) chairman Dr. Timothy Olweny underscored the importance of functional blood banks in the country saying they were crucial for the effective delivery of health care services.

The cabinet secretary hinted at plans to have the newly established Marsabit Kenya medical training campus start a nursing course by September this year.

In his remarks, Governor Ali said his administration was keen on offering quality health services to the people of Marsabit, adding that the modernization of facilities was ongoing.

The drive saw over 350 pints of blood donated in the past three days.

e: Kenya News Agency

NSDCC Seeks Ways To End Teen Pregnancies, HIV Infections

The National Syndemic Diseases Control Council (NSDCC) has called for concerted efforts to tame increased HIV infections, especially among young people, with officials saying the new infections could increase the HIV burden in the country.

NSDCC Chairman Geoffrey Gitu, speaking at Kanyenyaini during a public engagement forum, called upon the community to come together to guide and protect young people from new HIV infections, early pregnancies, and gender-based violence (GBV).

‘We have to come together to protect all children from this Triple Threat they are facing,’ he said, adding that residents should take it upon themselves to correct any young person in the wrong and also inform their parents.

Gitu said a multi-sectoral approach will be employed to ensure locals get the right information and embrace the measures put in place to end new infections, teen pregnancies, and gender-based violence.

The chairman emphasised the urgency of addressing the triple threat, noting its detrimental impact on efforts
to end the HIV pandemic in Kenya.

He said the NSDCC identified sexually gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy as indicators of heightened risk of HIV infections.

NSDCC Head of County Support, Carol Kinoti, called upon parents to teach their children about safe sex and preventing teenage pregnancies.

Kinoti noted that open discussions on sexuality would help bring down the number of new infections among young people and prevent teenage pregnancies.

She also called upon parents and guardians to ensure teenage mothers went back to school to acquire an education after giving birth.

‘Taking teenage mothers back to school is also a way of ensuring they get their lives back on track and they do not get more pregnancies,’ she said, adding that continuing with education also ensures they do not end up in early marriages.

Mwangangi Mwania, who was representing the Ministry of Interior and National Administration, cautioned the teenagers against early sex, saying it exposes them to early pregnancies and HIV
as well as GBV.

He further asked parents to closely monitor what content children are exposed to because it influences their behaviour.

‘Children have to be closely monitored because they could be exposed to many different things on the internet, and parents must guide them so that the children do not get confused,’ Mwania said.

He further asked the community to ensure that people arrested for GBV-related cases are prosecuted according to the law and cautioned them against protecting perpetrators at the expense of the victims.

‘The Ministry has helped save many girls from early marriages and ensured the prosecution of numerous culprits of GBV and those responsible for teen pregnancies,’ he said.

Kangema DCC, Esther Mwamure, also echoed the sentiments of the other speakers and said that cases relating to GBV should be dealt with appropriately and according to the law.

Mwamure called for open dialogue around the triple threat and asked residents to get tested and adhere to treatment so as to reduce new in

‘Young people in the county should go for HIV testing and counselling as a way to help end new infections,’ the DCC said.

She also called for those involved in the fight against alcohol and drug abuse to remain vigilant, as abuse of drugs and substances also contributes to new HIV infections, teenage pregnancies, and GBV.

To end the triple threat, the council is working with respective partners like local administrators and health workers to disseminate information at the community level on preventive measures and support those in need of services.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Tea Farmers Appeal To KTDA For Health Insurance

Tea farmers in Kericho have called on the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to prioritise introducing a health insurance cover for tea farmers in order to cushion farmers from exorbitant medical bills whenever they go for medication in health facilities.

Speaking to KNA in Litein, Kericho County, the farmers lamented that KTDA farmers were suffering despite their notable contributions and the significant impact tea has made in the country, being the leading producer and earning the country a lot in foreign exchange.

Led by Mr. Joseph Langat from Chemoiben in Bureti Sub-County, the farmers requested the government to consult the KTDA management to look into establishing a mandatory health insurance cover for the over 600,000 small scale tea farmers in the country.

Mr. Langat noted that tea farmers depended heavily on the produce to educate and provide for their families, and when health issues come up, they have little left to pay for medication and the purchase of drugs.

He said that if there was insura
nce cover for tea farmers, it would greatly assist the tea farmers and their families to shoulder the high cost of medication in health facilities.

Langat further suggested that every tea factory or tea zone should be compelled to build a hospital or a health facility for its shareholders; this would go a long way to supplement what the County and National governments are doing to support health care in the Country.

Mr. Langat suggested that deductions of as little as one shilling could be deducted from every kilo of tea produced by a farmer to go into this venture, with the tea agency supporting the other logistics towards the realisation of stable and reliable insurance and health facilities for tea farmers.

Multinational tea estates in Kericho, as part of their corporate responsibility to their workers and the community, have established health cottages to offer health services and basic treatment to the workers and the community.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Makueni County Installs X-Ray Machines In Five Health Facilities To Boost Health Care

Makueni County government has installed X-ray machines in five different health facilities so as to boost healthcare, area Governor Mutula Kilonzo Jr. has said.

Among health facilities that were installed with X-ray machines are Sultan Hamud, Mbooni, Tawa, Kilungu and Kibwezi subcounties hospitals respectively.

‘The installed X-rays will ensure proper diagnosis of diseases the patients are suffering and there will be no more referrals to other hospitals,’ said Mutula during the launch of a maternity ward at Sultan Hamud Hospital on Thursday.

He disclosed that Matiliku Health Centre in Nzaui Sub County will be equipped with an X-ray machine next financial year while adding that an artificial intelligence-based X-ray machine will be installed at Makueni County Referral Hospital.

Additionally, the Governor revealed that the county government has sunk a borehole in Muatinini village which will provide water to the hospital and the surrounding schools in the area.

On talent, Mutula said that his government wi
ll construct an artificially tough stadium at Sultan Hamud with the help of Konza Institute of Commercial Management, which is geared towards promoting the talent of the youths in Makueni County.

Source: Kenya News Agency

KHPOA Launches Strategic Plan For The Year 2023-2027

The Kenya Health Professions Oversight Authority (KHPOA) has launched its strategic plan for the year 2023-2027, which aims at committing health care practitioners to uphold the highest standards in the health sector.

The strategic plan focuses on health professional regulation, right to health, health service delivery, strategic information, research and innovation and institutional capacity development.

Speaking at the launch, Principal Secretary (PS) for Public Health and Professional Standards Mary Muriuki said that the first strategic plan for 2023-2027 is a milestone that underscores unwavering commitment to ensure the highest standards of healthcare deliberation and professional practice across the country in quality of care, standards, affordability and availability.

‘KHPOA plays a critical role in safeguarding the integrity, professionalism, and competence of health care practitioners ultimately enhancing the quality and safety of health care services nationwide,’ she said.

The PS observed that o
versight has become a very critical area, since it informs on the regular basis, where health is going wrong or to ensure that the management will go out to collect information from different regulatory bodies and give direction in terms of helping the state department to plan better.

‘The Authority demonstrates its commitment to harmonizing its objectives in several blueprints at global continental, regional and national goals,’ stated Muriuki, adding that the government continues to depend on KHPOA to provide effective, responsive, and oversight in the regulation of health and professional practice by contributing to the progressive fulfilment of the right to health for all citizens.

The PS reiterated that the plan embodies a collective commitment to ensuring the highest standards and excellence in the delivery of healthcare service across the country, stressing that excellent quality will only happen if right equipment are available in facilities, qualified human resources for health, right infrastructur
e and quality that is followed in the professionalism of what is happening in health facilities.

‘It is imperative that we adapt the innovative innovation to meet the health needs to empower communities while upholding the principles of integrity and accountability in the quality health care delivery,’ she added.

Muriuki cited the plan not only ensures the Authority’s responsiveness to current health challenges but also positions it to the future and certainty in the dynamic field of health care, disclosing that it is a culmination of extensive collaboration and consultation with stakeholders.

The PS noted that objectives will enhance regulatory frameworks, promote continued professional development, and foster a culture of excellence and innovation within the health care sector.

The KHPOA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Jackson Kioko termed the plan as a critical operational tool that symbolizes the commitment to transform the healthcare landscape in the country.

The CEO emphasized that KHPOA is commi
tted to efficiency and responsiveness in an oversight function to regulate security of health services and professionals in the country, adding that the visionary plan will enable the organization to evolve into a dynamic and forward-thinking agency.

‘The agency is dedicated to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and accountability and quality of care to the public,’ maintained Kioko.

He also noted that the authority has remained dedicated to their mandate to nurture professionals who are not fit for purpose but are able to participate in the achievement of Universal Health Coverage.

Source: Kenya News Agency

First Lady Launches 70 Bed Referral Maternity For North Rift Region

In line with the national government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), which has listed health care as one of the key pillars, the First Lady Mama Rachel Ruto launched the first of its kind 70 bed specialized maternity hospital in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu.

The hospital boasts the latest equipment and technology to ensure the safety and wellbeing of mothers and children. This includes a fully equipped theatre and a class E laboratory, a fully stocked pharmacy, ICT centre, an ultra-modern diagnostic ultrasound and x-ray unit.

In her speech during the inauguration ceremony, the First Lady indicated that the facility, named in her honour as Mama Rachel Ruto Maternity Hospital, would serve to advance the country’s capacity to offer maternal, neonatal, prenatal and pediatric care for mothers in the county and the larger North Rift region.

‘Am humbled to have the maternity hospital named in my honour. This facility has a rich history from being a residential unit during the colonial period and later
evolving into a small dispensary given as charity by the colonialists,’ she noted.

She commended the county and the private sector for the rich investment they have ‘made towards the lives of Kenyan citizens to ensure that all our people access better health care’.

‘With Eldoret being a medical hub in the North Rift Region and the country at large, the existing medical facilities especially maternity have been overstretched and this maternity hospital with 70 bed capacity is a stitch in time to ensure no mother loses life while giving life,’ noted the First Lady.

According to Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2022, 14.4 percent of women in Uasin Gishu could not access a health facility within 1 hour when they need health care services.

Mama Rachel noted that the operationalization of the hospital would improve access to specialized maternal and neonatal healthcare services and act as a referral facility for mother and baby emergency cases ensuring that no mother should lose their own life while giving life.

She further lauded the collaborations between the county government of Uasin Gishu and ELSMED from Israel, Wingcopter from Germany and Siemens group which embraces innovation by use of drones to offer health services.

She said the facility would be a national case study on optimization of health care resources by leveraging technology to ensure there is proper diagnosis.

‘This morning at Huruma Sub County hospital we launched the first of its kind project embracing innovation where the county will be using drone technology to collect medical samples from 117 public health facilities in the county to analyze at a central facility and relay the results back to the health centers,’ alluded Mama Ruto.

She added that the partnerships would further improve health care access especially to people in far flung areas who have been travelling to far off towns to access quality health care and laboratory testing. They would now enjoy the same services at their nearby health care facilities, she noted.

The First Lady
pointed out that the initiative was a significant step in realizing the Kenya Kwanza manifesto to achieve Universal Health Care coverage by integrating technology into health care delivery and fully functional primary healthcare mechanisms including preventive, promotive, curative palliative and rehabilitative services.

‘I have received the information that the drone will transport medical samples from the farthest health care in Ainabkoi county to Huruma Sub County hospital in just 7 minutes which by road, would have taken 40 minutes to an hour depending on the traffic on the highway,’ she said.

‘We also commend the governor for their outstanding commitment to health care as evidenced by the 30 percent allocation of their budget to health. We look forward to the construction and the operationalization of the ZIWA Level 5, Kesses, Moiben and Turbo hospitals,’ added Mama Rachel.

Noting that national health journey has been rough, expensive and sometimes out of reach for many Kenyans due to geographical fact
ors and income disparities across the country, the First Lady urged the residents of the county to embrace the roll out of the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) which would see all Kenyans access quality health care without exclusion in line with the policy of leaving no one behind.

In his remarks, Uasin Gishu Governor Dr. Jonathan Chelilim acknowledged the launch of the Mama Rachel Maternity Hospital.

He revealed that the facility comprises state-of-the-art equipment worth Sh1 billion donated by the French Government through the FSE programme.

‘This equipment includes state-of-the-art operating equipment, 20 general incubators and 2 highly specialized Tunnel incubators, the only of their kind in Western Kenya, 40-bed ANC and Post Natal wards and modern delivery beds,’ he said.

‘With this new facility, our mothers will have access to a dedicated referral center for various health conditions, including gynecological units for reproductive health issues. This facility will offer curative, reproductive hea
lth, maternal, and child health services, and enhanced skill development among healthcare workers,’ noted the Governor.

Source: Kenya News Agency

Meeting To End Sickle Cell Underway In Kisumu

A meeting to implement strategies geared towards elimination of sickle cell disease prevalence in Kisumu County is underway.

Kisumu County Executive Committee Member for Health Dr Gregory Ganda speaking during a three-day meeting at Ciala resort said that the meeting was meant to empower and change the residents’ perception on how the disease was affecting them pointing out that they would now have a proper plan for containing the disease in Kisumu for the next five years.

Ganda disclosed that research indicated that one out of every five children born in Kisumu have sickle cell.

‘The conference’s main agenda is sickle cell and haemophelia whose prevalence has been cited as high in Kisumu and in the lake region economic bloc including the coastal areas thus the Ministry of Health is working with stakeholders in a campaign to highlight the sickle cell disease since it has affected many people,’ he pointed out.

Ganda decried the helplessness among Kisumu residents on sickle cell yet no one has come out to r
ally the sickle cell campaign noting that now they have rolled out the campaign and set long term plans for the next five years to mitigate the condition in the county.

Source: Kenya News Agency

NACADA Urges Youth To Avoid Drugs, Citing Mental Health Risks

National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) Nyanza Regional Manager Esther Okenye has urged the youth to avoid drugs and other substances, warning that addiction could disrupt their long-term goals and pose various health risks.

According to a national survey on drug and substance use in Kenya, the prevalence of alcohol use in the Nyanza region is 6.3%, while bhang use stands at 2.4%, making Nyanza the second highest region in terms of consumption.

Ms. Okenye attributed the high prevalence of bhang in the region to its location along the sugar belt, where workers use the drug to endure long working hours, eventually leading to addiction.

Further, she noted that alcohol, particularly ‘chang’aa’, was more prevalent due to the availability of raw materials from the sugar industry.

Okenye highlighted that the fight against drug and substance use, especially ‘muguka’ has intensified in many regions, with Kilifi, Taita Taveta, and Mombasa counties banning it, and Kwale and Machak
os considering similar measures.

‘Our role is to collaborate with county governments to enhance joint enforcement efforts to control drug and substance use,’ Okenye stated, emphasizing that while the World Health Organization classifies drugs, NACADA’s job is to work with governments to formulate policies to combat drug abuse.

Okenye said she believed that the abuse of Muguka and khat (miraa) is widespread because they are legal. ‘Making them illegal, despite being cash crops in the eastern region, will be the only solution,’ she suggested.

Her appeal comes as the world marks Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month of June.

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