Nyeri residents have been urged to go for early testing for cancer and immediately start treatment if the disease is detected.
Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga said that cancer has become a death sentence in the country, adding that only about 20 per cent of patients survive unlike in developed countries where more than 80 per cent of patients got cured.
“We have not taken the bold step of going for tests and this is the breast cancer month. How many have taken that step?” Kahiga posed.
He was speaking in Nyeri town Friday when he officially opened the Nyeri Hospice Inpatient ward meant to offer palliative care to the terminally ill cancer patients.
Kahiga disclosed that the county together with the other former provincial hospitals and Kenyatta University, Referral and Research Hospital are working jointly to come up with methods for early cancer detection.
He said when operationalized, this would bring the cost of testing cancer from about Sh80, 000 currently to as low as Sh20-25,000.
“When we have detected the cancer early, the patient will survive but when detected when the damage is made, we lose the patient,” he added.
Kahiga added that his administration would support the hospice with drugs and staff and promised to send one additional nurse to support the current three.
The governor expressed fear that local hospitals would soon run out of drugs as the counties have not received funds from the National Treasury and the embargo that devolved units should not source for drugs from elsewhere other than KEMSHA given the current challenges facing the agency.
Kahiga raised the red flag to the county staff to brace for hard times like working without salaries if the counties do not receive funds in the near future.
The Governor at the same time said that the Universal Health Care in the region has come to a halt and urged the residents to enroll with the National Hospital Insurance Fund to cushion themselves against hospital bills.
However, he said that consultations were going on to explore the possibilities of reviving UHC but in the meantime, patients would be charged a small fee.
He called for community support to cancer patients and urged society to stop stigmatizing those affected or infected.
Speaking during the same occasion, Nyeri deputy governor Ms. Caroline Karugu echoed the governor’s sentiments saying stigmatization was the worst treatment that is accorded to patients and their families.
Karugu also urged the local people to go for early testing of cancer and other Non-Communicable Diseases.
A cancer survivor Mr. Kereske Kamwaro concurred that the best way to fight cancer is by going for tests.
“It is easier to fight with a single cancel cell than 10,000 cells,” Kamwaro, who was detected with diabetes and cancer in 2010, told the gathering.
By Mwangi Gaitha