Monthly Archives: August 2018



Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Mariah Akinyi, Youth Advocate.

Extreme fatigue, feeling very thirsty, blurry vision, cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, feeling very hungry (even though one is eating), itchy skin, red and/or swollen gums, numbness or tingling especially in the feet and hands, are just but a few of the symptoms that accompany individuals who diabetes has gotten the better part of them. Doctors around the world have described diabetes as a group of metabolic diseases in which the patient has a high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because the insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin or both. Insulin is the hormone that regulates the level of sugar in the blood i.e. it helps to keep the blood sugar level from getting too high or too low and is produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets. Diabetes, just like any other Non-Communicable Disease (NCD), can cause great discomfort to the victim and deprive them of their happiness as the normal operations of the body will be affected.

There are three types of diabetes that are known; Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and Gestational diabetes. Under Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Patients with this type of diabetes will need to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. Under Type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin for proper function, or the body cells do not react to insulin. Most of the cases of diabetes worldwide are of Type 2. Gestational diabetes affects females during pregnancy. These are mostly women with very high levels of glucose in their blood and their bodies are not able to produce enough insulin to combat the blood sugar levels.

In as much as all people are at risk of developing diabetes, some are at much higher risk than others. These include obese and overweight individuals whose weight leads their bodies to produce chemicals that can destabilize the body’s metabolic functions. Those who are usually inactive and continually take the wrong diet are also at the risk of developing diabetes and especially Type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is untreatable and it is unfortunate that patients affected by it have to live with it for the rest of their lives. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled by exercising a lot, controlling one’s body weight and taking in the right diet especially fruits and vegetables.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of diabetes in Kenya is estimated to be at 3.3% and by 2025 it is predicted to rise to 4.5%. Diabetes is a threatening factor in the country and so the government should ensure that a proper funding structure is put in place in our hospitals for effectively combating the disease. People should also be educated on proper feeding habits in order to keep diabetes at bay.

I am more than my sexuality

Category : Naya , Naya Blog

By Michael Okun Oliech

I was born and raised in Kenya. I am a teacher, a voter, your neighbour, a student, a doctor, a parent, a police officer, an entrepreneur, a friend, a lawyer a judge, a policy maker just to mention a few. I am a law abiding citizen and I always pay my taxes on time. I participate in nation building activities but still you choose to hate because of my sexuality.

I breathe in the same air that you breathe, if you cut my hand you will see blood and not water coming out. I have a heart and feelings too just like you but you choose to treat me like an outcast. Am not human in your eyes. ​

You use religion to justify your actions towards me. You humiliate me by calling me names, you attack me, you lock me up behind bars in the name of religion but isn’t it ironical? Your religion advocates for peace, love and unity and yet you do the opposite.

You claim that I am a sinner and you cannot associate with me but didn’t Jesus associate with sinners in the bible? Didn’t He show them love and compassion. Are you better than Jesus?

It unfair to call me evil and yet I have never violated your rights. There are plenty of evil people around you such as thieves, rapists, murderers, corrupt officials but you turn a blind eye to them and only see me as a threat.

Why judge me based on my sexuality? The pope was here last year and I remember he said we should never judge people for we are not God. You say am embracing the western culture and interfering with African culture but my question is if you claim to value the African culture, why then are you dressing like the westerners, listening to their music, using their language to communicate, driving their cars? You have copied everything from the westerners but you are quick to judge me.

I was born this way and it is not my fault. You have to understand that we all have different sexual preferences. My sexual preference might not be appealing to you but you have to respect it. I deserve to be treated with respect and dignity at all times.

I am human and I get hurt when my rights are violated. Please stop all the hate you have towards me. I should not be judged based on my sexuality. The moment you do that you miss the good side of us. Please understand that my sexuality is not a disease. You cannot catch it when you are next to me or when you talk to me. I might have a different sexual preference but on the inside am not different from you. I am human. Show some love and kindness to all the LGBT in Kenya.

Financing and Performance of Non-Communicable

Financing and Performance of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)’ Programs

Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Kelvin Mokaya, NAYA Advocate.

Broadly speaking, African governments do not spend enough on health care. While governments pledged in 2001 through the Abuja Declaration to commit 15 percent of their annual budgets to public health spending, only a few countries have actually achieved the target. Within health care spending, funding for NCDs is even less of a priority. Governments are underspending on health.

Donor funds are mainly directed towards supplementing the public health sector funds including funds to fight HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and NCDs among others. The rest of the gap is filled by private companies, a local foundation, and other unspecified sources.

Health professionals and practitioners have mentioned that paying for NCD advancement and maintenance is an investment; thus, necessitating rise of health awareness programs targeted on managing the diseases.

Additionally, there is strong evidence in the reduction of finances required to implement health awareness programs if NCDs medication could be used more rationally.

Health promotion, prevention, and early treatment would greatly reduce some of the costs related to NCDs care and treatment. Therefore I call upon the National Government to allocate funds that will specifically tackle NCDs’ care and treatment.

Nevertheless, awareness creation on promotion and advocacy efforts should be targeted at the financial allocation of more resources ensuring original NCDs brand medicines are availed to further lower the proportion of direct costs related to NCDs.

lung cancer

Tobacco and Noncommunicable Diseases

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Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Tobacco smoking is projected to cause up to 71% of the lung cancer deaths globally. Nevertheless, it is responsible for 10% cardiovascular diseases and 42% for respiratory diseases. It also contributes to 14% NCDs related deaths globally between the people of ages 30 and above. According to the World Health Organization, recent findings indicate that about 8billion sticks of cigarettes are smoked in Kenya annually. In Kenya young people of the ages 15 and above have smoked tobacco, an equivalent of 11.6% of adults, this according to the Global Youth Survey.

The rate of tobacco use among young people is alarming with 12.8% boys and 6.7% among girls. Kenya Global Youth Survey indicates that between 2001 and 2007 the toll of smoking amid school going young people stood at 77.8%. Tobacco is a risk factor for 6 out of the 8 leading causes of death among people aged 30 years and above, however, it is important to note that among the risk factors for NCDs, tobacco is the most leading preventable risk factor. Currently, 7 out of 10 active smokers have tried to stop smoking, in the past one year whereas 9 among 10 current smokers want to stop smoking.

It’s important to note again that tobacco use has a persistent addiction among its users thus making it difficult to stop. This has therefore resulted in a rapid growth in the burden of NCDs in Kenya today. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is a treaty that Kenya is committed to so as to establish policies to regulate tobacco use.

To reduce the NCD burden and tobacco use, the government has a responsibility to adopt and implement fully the FCTC policies by ensuring adoption of tax and price measures to lessen tobacco use, banning tobacco sponsorships, promotions and advertisements.


Ricky Samuel.

Noncommunicable diseases

Non-communicable diseases; The Kenyan Context

Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Kelvin Mokaya, NAYA Advocate.

NCDs are responsible for reducing productivity, curtailing economic growth and trapping the poorest people in chronic poverty in the country. The probability of dying too young from an NCD in Kenya is 18%, according to the World Health Survey. NCDs contribute to over 50% of inpatient admissions and 40% of hospital deaths, which dominates healthcare budgets in Kenya (WHO, 2014). The social, economic and physical environments in Kenya afford our population much lower levels of protection from the risks and consequences of NCDs as compared to the developed countries.

In Developed countries, the population often benefits from Governments’ policies and plans to reduce the exposure to risk factors for NCDs. Hence, strengthening the capacity of individuals and populations to make healthier choices and follow lifestyle patterns that follow good health. Insufficient action will result in significant socioeconomic drag for our country, which is just emerging as a low middle-income country and an additional burden for the health system that it can ill afford.

As a country, we should ensure that all parts of government and society respond to the challenges of NCDs. Health gains can only be achieved much more readily by influencing public policies in sectors beyond health than by making changes in health policy alone. We need to identify opportunities for linking the promotion of NCD prevention and control into existing programs in both the health sector and other sectors such as education, labor, and urban development. Lastly, we have to place a stronger emphasis on protecting people from the exposure to highly processed foods and beverages containing large amounts of fats, salt and sugar and raising awareness among the population.

Youth are Key in Tackling the NCDs in Nairobi

Category : Naya Blog

Establishing healthy behaviours among young people in Nairobi County could help stem a looming regional epidemic of non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic respiratory conditions. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are already responsible for a good number of deaths in the County. Based on current trends, the World Health Organization projects that NCDs will become the leading cause of death in the African region by 2030, surpassing AIDS and other conditions that predominate today.

The four main risk factors for NCDs are tobacco use, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, and insufficient exercise – behaviours that are often established in early adolescence and young adulthood and which set the stage for NCDs later in life. Focusing on youth is critical in the country because of its large and growing number of young people. Kenya as a country is among the leading countries in Africa with the youngest population. Research indicates that youth in some African countries are already predisposed to the risk factors and this is likely to rise furthermore throughout the African region unless the Nairobi County government, through the national government, allocates financial resources to combat this.

Quality healthcare is the extent to which health services provided to individuals and patient populations improve desired health outcomes.

Effective Programming for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Kelvin Mokaya, Youth Advocate.

The Global Opportunity Report (2016) notes that most times, NCDs are prevalent across the country though there may be regional variations.

Quality healthcare is the extent to which health services provided to individuals and patient populations improve desired health outcomes. Effective NCD prevention and control is a high priority on the global health and development agenda. In line with this, World Health Organization (WHO)  continues to support countries to develop and strengthen National Multi-sectoral NCD policies and plans; move towards time-bound targets and indicators; identify and act on priority risk factors and strengthen health systems for NCD management especially in primary care (WHO, 2014).

The high prevalence of NCDs requires immediate attention. The rise in the burden of NCDs has resulted in financial constraints resulting in a struggle in service delivery. Preventable risk factors lie mostly on fully understanding how the NCDs come about. The prevalence ranges between earning groups and differs with gender (WHO, 2014).

A plan of action, therefore, should include effective and efficient covering of all parts of a country in a phased manner giving highest priority to the areas with high prevalence or highly affected yet with a low level of available and required NCD services. It is thus important that Kenya not only limits the NCD awareness programs to cancer and diabetes but cover cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases in an integrated manner. Knowing that both effective NCD awareness and communication are essential for the promotion and preservation of public health will be a major milestone in the emergence of hard-tackling Non-Communicable Diseases.

To continually carry out NCD awareness projects, it is essential that services including programs especially for the disadvantaged poor remain effective and efficient to address different vulnerabilities and risks. While developing the Kenya NCDs and guidance law, an emphasis was laid in developing interventions to work with organized difficulties that see NCD prevention and control at both the national and national government level (Kenya National Strategies for NCDs 2015 – 2020). For NCD awareness programs to work, the guidelines should be based on the powerful clinical results.

The answer lies with the Ministry of Health to ensure that there are effective health awareness programs which involve changing behavior at multiple levels. To reverse, there is a need to understand and use the mechanisms which have been largely used to empower individuals to make healthy options. These include the Health Belief, Self-Efficacy, Social reading and Self-elevations models.