Category : Naya Blog
By Daniel Otieno.
According to world Health Organization, heart diseases, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases are the four major non-communicable diseases taking a toll on life both among children and adults. Physical inactivity, eating habits, alcohol and tobacco use are also the major risk factors attributed to the non-communicable diseases. Young people owing to their eating habits and lifestyles bear the biggest burden of non-communicable diseases. Young people represent a group that will rarely engage in physical exercise, often enjoy junk foods and alcohol.
According to WHO non-communicable diseases, Kenya country profiles of 2014, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases accounts for a bigger percentage of non-communicable diseases among men and women below 70 years. Men are most affected as the statistics reveal 13% and 14% for cardiovascular and respiratory disease and 12% and 13% for cardiovascular and respiratory disease among women. This arrives at a conclusion that men may be engaging more in alcohol and tobacco use compared to women as these two factors are highly 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 be well equipped with equipment’s and drugs required. Gratefully Kenya has made a major step in providing the first batch of breast cancer to patients at Kenyatta National Hospital. With devolution, it’s time we also ensure adequate financial allocations for the treatment of noncommunicable diseases especially cancer and heart disease. The Abuja declaration requires that 15 % of national budget be allocated to health. Allocation in Kenya currently stands at 5 %. Mandatory prepayment will also ensure everyone with or without symptoms contributes towards financing health as is done with the national health Insurance Fund. The point of care fee for non-communicable diseases must also be eliminated to ensure affordable health.
Political goodwill ensures equitable distribution of health resources in each county. With transparency and accountability in managing health funds, counties will have enough resources including drugs and personnel to meet the population demands. Non-communicable diseases have been prioritized in the National Medium Term Plan (MTPII) 2014-2018; National Health Strategic Plan (KNSSP) 2014-2018; the United Nations Development Assisted Framework (UNDAF) 2014-2018 for Kenya; and the Kenya third generation WHO Country Cooperation Strategy (2014-2019).Implementing these provision will take us a long way in fighting and eliminating non-communicable diseases. To eliminate the incidence of non-communicable diseases among children, implementing the national school health policy is also necessary.
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