More than 60 cancer patients in Nyeri County have received colostomy bags to ease the struggle they go through while ‘answering calls of nature.’
The patients were drawn from Nyeri Hospice home which was marking the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. The theme of the fete was ‘Leave no-one behind-equity in access to palliative care.’
Briefing the press at the sidelines of the event, Nyeri Hospice Home Manager, Mr Steven Musya, said they decided to celebrate the day with the patients together with their families as a way of creating awareness on the critical need for palliative care.
“We are marking this day with our patients and their families. We have also provided them with the bags and adult diapers for those who use them. Being a cancer awareness month, the hospice has also offered free cancer screening to those who wanted to know their status,” Musya said.
“By doing this, I am sure we will play a big role in giving hope to the patients with their families by showing them we love and care for them and at least give them a sense of belonging,” he added.
While lauding the government for supplying them with the bags, Musya called upon well-wishers to support the home to ensure there is a steady supply of essential materials needed by the patients.
“I am extending my gratitude to our government for giving us the bags and to everyone who helped us in any other way. I would also wish to call upon more well-wishers to come and support us to continue caring for our patients the way we have been doing for the last 26 years,” he appealed.
Timothy Kamwaro, a beneficiary of the palliative care since 2014 said he had lost hope after being diagnosed with colon cancer but after joining the Nyeri Hospice home, his hope was restored and he now believes that cancer is not the end of life.
Another cancer patient, Allan Wachira, lauded the home as well as the initiative saying that before then, he was facing problems of high cost of the colostomy bags and lack of knowledge on how to use them.
“Before I joined this home, I used to buy these bags at a very high cost. The bags were not even durable and I lacked the basic knowledge of using them. But since I came here, I am guaranteed free quality colostomy bags. I am also conversant on how to use them such that I can use one bag for two to three days while at the same time maintaining my hygiene,” said Wachira.
Figures from the Ministry of Health show that Kenya records an average of 28,000 cancer cases every year with a mortality rate of 22,000 or 78.5 percent death rate making it the third leading cause of death after infectious and cardiovascular diseases.
From 2012 to 2018, the annual incidence of cancer increased from 37,000 to 47,887 new cases. During the same period, the annual mortality rate from the disease rose to almost 16 percent from 28,500 to 32,987.
By Samuel Maina and Ann Ngure