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Nguvu Change Leader Arnold Osano
Nguvu Change Leader Arnold Osano who has petitioned the government on health crisis that Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) has already triggered in Kenya Photo/Nguvu Change


By TWN Team

Amid the growing demand for a stronger public health system in Kenya, the news of the Ministry of Health being allocated only Sh127 billion for the 2024-25 financial year, is being seen as a huge setback.  

The slashing of over Sh11 billion from the health sector budget has come as a shock to the country. 

In the backdrop of a dwindling Health Care Budget, on World Sickle Cell Day (June 19), Nguvu Change Leader Arnold Osano  hopes to draw the government’s attention to the health crisis that Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) has already triggered in Kenya. He says, the reduced budget will further impede efforts to strengthen the healthcare system and combat SCD. 

The Kenyan Ministry of Health in September 2023 declared that approximately 14,000 children were born with Sickle Cell Disease each year.

Through his online petition –‘Give Kenyans Quality and Affordable Healthcare Services’ Arnold Osano underscores the need to prioritise resource allocation towards improving preventive, promotive, and curative healthcare services in Kenya.

“Kenya’s healthcare system faces significant challenges in managing diseases like SCD. The main issue is that primary healthcare facilities often lack the resources for appropriate treatment, leading to late diagnoses and hindering timely management. Furthermore, healthcare providers frequently lack the necessary skills and knowledge to diagnose and manage such diseases effectively, resulting in suboptimal care. The high cost of treatment also places a heavy financial burden on patients. We hoped the health budget would focus on strengthening the system, but instead, the allocation was slashed, which is a real irony,” says Arnold.

Highlighting Article 43(A) in the Constitution of Kenya which enshrines the right of citizens to the highest attainable health standards, Arnold says, “We urge the National and County Government Departments of Public Health and Sanitation to ensure effective allocation of medical resources, involve the legislature to guarantee constructive usage of these resources, implement management and containment strategies for communicable disease outbreaks and strengthen public health systems to restore public trust and confidence. Only then can we move forward as a strong nation that values the health of its citizens,” adds Arnold.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa has also stated that African countries do not have the necessary resources to provide comprehensive care for people with diseases like SCD. According to WHO, due to the absence of newborn screening programs and surveillance across the region, there is a lack of accurate and reliable data on the disease.

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