Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kenyan Health Minister travels to the US for cancer treatment

Kenya's Health Minister created quite a controversy for himself when he flew to the United States to seek treatment for cancer. Because Professor Anyang Nyong'o is a government minister he has the luxury to go overseas to get the best treatment. It is a luxury that very few Kenyans can enjoy and a lack of a political will to fully fund health care may be partly to blame.

From the Inter Press Service, writer Miriam Gathigah describes how politicians throughout Africa have failed to fulfill commitments for health care budgets.

Nyong’o himself has admitted that most Kenyans battling diseases such as cancer have very few choices in as far as access to treatment is concerned. Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi is the only public hospital with the facilities - although poor - that can diagnose and treat cancer.

According to the hospital, the cancer waiting list is stretched to September 2011.

Health Budget Decreases

In June last year, the national budget was estimated at 12.5 billion dollars, the largest in the history of the country.

Despite a significant increase over the previous year for the health sector, the share of the budget fell.

Ten years after African Union (AU) member states agreed to spend 15 percent of national budgets on health in the Abuja Declaration, the pledge remains largely unmet by most African countries, with the exception of Botswana and the Seychelles.

Yet the Abuja Declaration remains one of the most vital signs of commitment African leaders can make towards health.

"In this regard, the national budgetary allocation becomes a key indicator of strides that the government is making towards improving the health sector," explains Pauline Amollo, a policy analyst and consultant in Nairobi.

The proportion allocated to the health sector for the current financial year stands at 6.5 percent, down from 7 percent in the previous financial year.

"The national budget is a significant indicator of how public policy is to be implemented and what the government of the day deems to be of national priority," adds Amollo.

"The fact that Kenya is yet to achieve even half of the expected 15 percent allocation of the budget to the health sector is a clear indicator that the sector (health) is yet to be treated with the seriousness it deserves."

NTV Kenya had this story of Professor Anyang Nyong'o returning to Kenya from his treatment in the US.

1 comment:

health & safety canada said...

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