Kenya crafts Sh377 billion ‘fairytale’ plan against lifestyle diseases

Kenya has crafted a KSh 377 billion (USD3.4b) five-year plan to fight increasing lifestyles diseases including cancers, diabetes and heart conditions.

The plan promises to make Kenyans shed weight, walk more, eat more fruits and vegetables, cut down on alcohol and tobacco and breathe cleaner air.

Targeted in the 2021 to 2025 plan are emerging new tobacco products such as nicotine pouches, flavoured, e-cigarettes and similar alternatives.

Others on the radar include a review of the alcohol control law to address new behaviour such as online and watershed advertising, increasing taste for strong spirits and flavoured alcohol.

The ministry says it will promote more physical activity, healthy diets, reduction of alcohol consumption, and cessation of tobacco.

To be promoted also is the reduction of stress and environmental and biological toxins and consumption of safer foods.

The ministry calls out on the farm chemical glyphosate, cement manufacturers and thermal power plants for their role in compromising public health.

The plan says vehicle emissions, cement manufacturing, thermal power plants, and waste burning are the biggest air polluters in Kenya only second to tobacco..

“Others of concern include toxic agrochemicals like glyphosate which has been associated with some cancers,” says the plan without specifics on what will be done.

Targeted conditions, the Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwi says include cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, mental health conditions and injuries.

The new plan succeeds an equally ambitious NCD Strategic Plan 2015-2020 which lapsed last year with little success to write about.

The new strategy indicates only 17.4 per cent of objectives in the lapsed plan were achieved due to many reasons including lack of finances.

The strategy is costed at KSh377 billion (USD3.4b) for the five years with only about KSh21 billion currently available hence a Sh356 billion or 94 per cent funding gap.

The available resources consist of 40 per cent from domestic and 60 per cent from external sources. The ministry hopes to fill the gap by lobbying the national and country governments, donors and the private sector.

If and when the funds are available, the bulk, 42 per cent will go into funding heart conditions and diabetes, 23 per cent to cancer and 18 per cent to injuries.

Epilepsy will get eight per cent, kidney disease about four per cent, with mental health getting the least at 0.2 per cent.

About Gatonye Gathura 126 Articles
Science Journalist

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