The number of Kenyans seeking physiotherapy services in both public and private health facilities is increasing due to rising incidents of complications among individuals suffering from non-communicable diseases.
Nakuru Level 5 Teaching and Referral Hospital Medical Superintendent, Dr Aisha Maina, said though the services were previously mainly consumed by trauma and accident victims, a new group is emerging from the rising number of patients with neurological conditions mainly caused by diabetes and hypertension.
Speaking when the facility received a donation of 15-wheel chairs, from Menengai Oil Refineries, to assist patient mobility at the Physiotherapy Unit, Dr Maina warned that recreation lifestyles and substance abuse were additional factors exerting pressure on physiotherapy services across the nation.
According to the Medical Superintendent, last month 1, 700 patients out of whom 255 are children were admitted at the facility’s physiotherapy unit.
Present during the occasion where the company also donated sanitizers, detergents and soaps were County Executive Committee Member for Health, Dr Zachary Gichuki Kariuki, and Executive Assistant Menengai Refineries’ Managing Director, Mr Simpson Osiemo.
Dr Maina observed that despite the critical role undertaken by increasingly important physiotherapy units, many public and private institutions were underfunding them, a situation she added was aggravated by high cost of equipment.
The Medical Superintendent added, “The cost of equipment is high, perhaps explaining why few physiotherapists have ventured into private practice. The long queues in public facilities offering physiotherapy services suggest that demand for these services is high. As a result, patients who need daily physiotherapy sessions sometimes have to do with monthly sessions offering little chance of making good progress on their road to recovery.”
She called on manufacturers and distributors of physiotherapy apparatus to come up with better financing models for equipment, including leasing to those specialists starting out adding that demand for these services would only grow.
Osiemo said Menengai Refineries had made the donation as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility and that the company and the hospital were working together to identify areas where they can jointly collaborate.
He revealed that the company was committed to helping committees and public health facilities fight the Covid-19 pandemic by donating soap and sanitizers through Kenya Red Cross and County Government.
He said the collaboration with Kenya Red Cross and County Governments was aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and specifically in low-income areas as well as the vulnerable people across the country.
Dr Kariuki called on other firms in Nakuru to follow suit and support ventures aimed at containing the spread of the deadly virus.
He said donation of the wheel chairs came at an appropriate time when the number of patients visiting the physiotherapy unit had increased.
By Anne Mwale and Helen Kivaya