Kenyatta National Hospital has forcefully sent home 10 cancer patients who are in dire need of chemotherapy following lack of blood in the national referral hospital.
Missing the chemotherapy for the ten patients who have been forcefully discharged at the Kenyatta National hospital is a huge setback in their fight against the disease.
The national referral hospital’s hands are tied as consequences of the shortage of blood intensifies and affect their delivery of service to Kenyans.
The ten patients revealed that they were asked to leave the national referral hospital after a two-week admission during which they were waiting for their turn to receive the chemotherapy treatment.
The ten patients who had been admitted at the national referral hospital’s ward 1B for a fortnight are now stranded and worried that the cancer is spreading in their bodies every passing day that they are missing chemotherapy.
“We were forcibly discharged on Thursday (20th February 2020) where most of us spent the night at the hospital’s casualty corridor before losing hope on Friday morning and leaving,” one of the patients told a local daily.
Cancer patients need a blood transfusion to enable them to go through chemotherapy which helps fight the cancer cells and prolong life for the patient.
Kenya has been hit by a severe blood shortage in its blood banks since the US totally withdrew its funding of the blood collection and storage drive with most patients succumbing to the lack of blood where urgent transfusion is required.
How Kenyan Blood Banks Run Dry
The Kenya budgetary committee did not allocate any funds in place of the withdrawn US funds and there are no finances to, therefore, buy blood reagents to facilitate the process of blood collection, storage, and testing.
Kenya has for decades depended on the US to aid its blood harvesting and blood banks and has received 72.5 million in a period of 15 years.
The United States of American (US) supported Kenya through an HIV/AIDS prevention program called PEPFAR where it donated funds to help Kenya fight HIV transmission cases.
The US donated the funds that enabled Kenya to develop and run blood banks for 15 years and, according to officials, discussed a transition of responsibility during the last decade where Kenya was to slowly take up the funding responsibility.
The PEPFAR funding that financed Kenya’s blood banks was discontinued by the US on September 1st, 2019 following orders by US President Donald Trump.
The intention of the blood drive was to take away the fear of getting HIV/AIDS as a majority of people then viewed as a death sentence.
The US ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter has defended the US saying the US government had consulted with the Kenyan government for years and agreed on plans to transition the blood safety assistance.
The US gradually reduced the funding with the hope that Kenya would slowly take up the responsibility, from an estimated 6 million to 1.4 million annually, but that has not been the case.
In its 2020 budget, the Kenyan government failed to provide for the blood collection and banking exercise and the consequences are now visible in deaths of victims who are in dire blood need as the victim’s family has to beg for donors in emergency cases.
In its defense, the Ministry of Health and argues that nobody in the ministry took up the responsibility to push for funds that would enable the drives to consider in the 2020 budget.