By KAHONZI KALIWA
People living with Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) across the country are living at a higher risk of severe complications and deaths following COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday John Gikonyo, President of Renal Patients Society of Kenya lamented that despite NCDs being a threat to those aged 30 years and above, the government has withdrawn its attention to those who are vulnerable
He says non communicable diseases including: cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and mental health disorders accounts for 55 per cent of hospital admissions
Gikonyo notes that the diseases account for 50 per cent of hospital deaths.
” PLWNCDs are now experiencing tough times in NCDs health facilities services putting them at a high risk of developing life-threatening complications including covid_19,’’ Gikonyo said.
He further claims that access to NCDs treatment is zero due to the closure of most clinics following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The president called upon the government through the ministry of health to prioritise the needs and care of PLWNCDs.
” I appeal to government to build a resilient supply chain of essential NCD medicine and at the same support those who cannot physically access pharmacies or hospitals.”
His sentiments were echoed by Tatu Mgandi and Mohammed Mwasahani, NCDs patients in Kwale County.
They decried high costs of medication especially during this pandemic period.
“Currently I am taking medication under the medical insurance in Diani beach hospital but it is due to expire. I’m worried how I will manage the cost of my medication in pharmacies, “Mghandi noted.
East Africa is also among the highest prevalence region in relation to NCD’s like cervical cancer, hypertension and rheumatic heart diseases.
The diseases account for 35.6 per cent of the total deaths in the region, an increase from 29.8 per cent in 2015.