The private sector will partner with the government to build cancer centres in six counties in a World Bank driven deal, easing the burden on Kenyatta National Hospital.
The bank, through its private equity arm International Finance Corporation (IFC), has disclosed the approval of Sh95 million to help design the hospitals that will be owned and operated by the private sector.
The units will be opened in Kisii, Nyeri, Mombasa, Nakuru, Nairobi and Eldoret to ease congestion at KNH and ease treatment of a disease that killed 32,987 people last year.
They will be built via the public private partnership model where the government will offer investors land and allow them to operate the facilities and charge a fee for recovery of their investments.
“The Ministry of Health has requested IFC support in structuring and delivering six regional cancer care centres per the Kenya PPP Act (2013), through a build-own operate scheme where the private party designs, finances, constructs, operates and maintains the infrastructure facility and provides clinical services for a specified period of time,” said the IFC.
Kenya wants to tap private sector funds, equipment and expertise to handle the deadly disease that is now a public health crisis in a county with underfunded public hospitals and shortage of specialist doctors. The investors will run the hospitals for a period of up to 25 years and later transfer them to the government.
Kenya lacks cancer specialists and equipment to handle the disease, with the few at KNH prone to breakdowns.
Official data shows cancer is the third biggest killer in Kenya after malaria and pneumonia, with experts warning the rate is set to rise. Rising cancer cases, especially among the poor, have increased the need for equipment and specialist doctors in health units.
Treatment of cancer is either through surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy or a combination of the options.
KNH and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret are the public hospitals handling the procedures.