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Kirinyaga Residents urged to embrace routine cancer screening  

Residents of Kirinyaga County have been urged to engage in the cancer screening exercise to enable them to get early diagnosis and timely treatment.

The head of the Renal Unit at Kerugoya hospital, Rachael Nyaga said those found to have indications of the disease will be referred to Kerugoya County Hospital for further diagnosis such as mammogram to enable them to get necessary management and treatment plan.

Nyaga said Cancer had become a silent killer with many people living with it unknowingly, it is estimated that 250 women in Kirinyaga County live with cancer, 10 per cent of them unaware.

Nyaga further said the majority of kidney-related diseases that have been registered in the county are attributed to modern agricultural-related practices.

“The intake of river water polluted with farm chemicals that infiltrate into the rivers has immensely contributed to the surge of the diseases,” She said

She added that many of the county residents being farmers use farm chemicals on their tomatoes, coffee, French beans, and other farm produce posing a great risk because, once it rains, the chemicals are drained into rivers consequently causing pollution and making water unsafe for human use.

Nyaga said they have educated the residents against self-diagnosis and medication as doing so can bring about malfunctioning of the kidneys. “While unwell it is important to seek medical attention in a health care facility so that one can be given the right medication,” Nyaga said

Nurses attend to the patients undergoing the dialysis treatment offered at Kerugoya County hospital

“We are also urging our people to check on their daily diet and stop consuming excess starchy foods which bring obesity thus exposing one to the risk of contracting non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension which in turn leads to kidney ailments, “she said

Nyaga said Kidney related diseases are not selective of age and can attack any person adding that the youngest patient they have treated was aged 15 years and while the oldest is 87 years. She expressed concern over the low rate of men who go for medical check-ups saying, it has equally contributed to the rise in the number of men battling kidney diseases in the country.

Moreover, Nyaga said the county has eight dialysis machines which have gone a long way in catering for Kidney patients in the region. She said an estimated 300 patients have undergone dialysis treatment since the inception of the renal unit in 2018 with 15 patients receiving the treatment on daily basis.

“Each week a patient is supposed to visit the facility twice whereby with the use of an artificial kidney we flush out waste from the blood and then return the filtered blood into the body using the dialysis machine, “she explained.

Joseph Murigu, a kidney patient has been undergoing dialysis at Kerugoya hospital’s renal unit says since he embarked on the treatment in 2019, his pain has eased and now he is able to perform daily chores.

Murigu said he lost his mother to kidney complications and urged the government to strive to eradicate the disease.

By Irungu Mwangi

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