A meeting that brought together health specialists from Siaya County to discuss the effects of non-communicable diseases in the county, was informed that 50 percent of patients in public health facilities in the county were suffering from NCDs.
According to the coordinator of the NCDs in Siaya, Peter Omoth, the diseases cumulatively account for 39 percent of deaths in Siaya, a figure that is expected to rise to 47 percent should quick interventions not be put in place.
“We want to do a lot of advocacy and create awareness that our people should do a lot of exercises to reduce lifestyle diseases,” said Omoth.
He said that the county government of Siaya has partnered with the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance of Kenya through the Moyo Afya project to establish early detection of NCDs in five health facilities within the region.
He said that through the project, Sifuyo, Simenya, Malanga, Ong’ielo and Gobei health centers have been equipped with Electrocardiogram machines to enable them detect cardiovascular diseases early and refer patients for further management.
A consultant physician at the Siaya County Referral Hospital, Dr. James Wagude called for a review of the drug supply policy that restricts supply of drugs for the management of hypertension, diabetes, and cholesterol only to county and sub-county referral hospitals.
Dr. Wagude says with statistics showing that NCDs were the second leading cause of death in the country and the burden being so high in the community, the drugs must be taken to the smaller health facilities to enable those diagnosed at the centers start treatment in good time.
“When we talk about essential drugs list, hypertension, diabetes, and cholesterol drugs are essential nowadays. We have to give these drugs to the smaller facilities” said the medic.
He lamented that those diagnosed with the diseases were currently forced to spend more money traveling to the sub-county and county referral hospitals, with many opting not to due to the costs involved.
Siaya County executive committee member for health, Dr. Martin K’onyango challenged medical personnel to engage community members on the best ways to tackle the increased rate of non-communicable diseases.
Dr. Konyango further called on Kenyans to enroll with the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to cushion themselves against the high cost of bills should sickness knock on their doors.
“Cases, where people are seeking for a waiver because of inability to clear hospital bills, are very high,” said the county minister for health.
NCDs include diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, sickle cell disease, mental health, asthma, among others.