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Why we may not win any war against cancer

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We cannot win the war against cancer, let alone wage a meaningful war against cancer, as long as the good government still thinks, while doing nothing about it, that the solution is in building a cancer center and buying ‘big equipments’. We will not build any, at least not any time soon, and will not win that war.

We have to go back to the basics. Diagnosis of almost all illnesses begin with clinical suspicion. The doctor is trained to ‘suspect’. It is usually out of these suspicions that a doctor would request for specific tests to confirm his/her suspicion.

The government cannot talk of building a cancer centre when they cannot provide basic diagnostic services like a full haemogram. There are no tests that will specifically diagnose cancer at an early state. But basic tests like full haemogram will give indication of an underlying problem.

A number of people have attributed causes of cancer to our eating habits. Causes of cancer are not clear. Diet is just one factor suspected to also cause it among many others.

A good model of health financing will encourage people to change their health seeking behaviours. This would go a long way in enhancing early detection of some cancers. Kenyans have poor health seeking behaviours because of poverty. Health is expensive and the government must really work on cushioning its citizenry from the harsh effects of spending on health. A parent should not have to choose between feeding the children and going to the hospital.

In order to wage a meaningful war against cancer, the government must go back to the basic aspects of a good healthcare system:
1. Accessibility of a healthcare system that responds to the needs of the people;
2. Adequate and empowered human resource for health;
3. Financial protection from the adverse aftermaths of seeking healthcare, healthcare is very expensive and cannot be provided for free; and finally
4. Availability of relevant resources, facilities, equipment and drugs through adequate budgetary allocations.

These alone, if applied and regularly monitored and evaluated, will lead us to UHC without going through that vague politics – the infested Big Four Agenda.

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