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Nyeri Men Benefit From One-Day Free Medical Camp

More than 400 men in Nyeri town have benefited from a free medical camp organized by the county department of health.

The men who showed up at the DEB Muslim Primary school received free medical consultation, counselling, health education and diabetes, hypertension, prostate cancer screening and HIV and sexually transmitted infections screening. They also accessed free eye check-ups among other wellness screening.

Medicine was also dispensed on site for those who were diagnosed with various ailments while patients with serious medical conditions were referred to the Nyeri County Referral hospital for further treatment.

According to Dr Nelson Muriu, the county director of health services, the one-day camp had been organized with the aim of bringing health services closer to men.

Muriu noted that data from the county health centres had indicated that men were reluctant about seeking health services and only sought help when their health deteriorated.

“The idea of the camp came about from the alarming data that we have been collecting about men. We have realized that men tend to hide their health issues and this is leading to their premature deaths due to late detection which reduces their chances of being successfully treated,” said Dr Muriu.

According to the data, men accounts for 85 per cent of all suicide cases that have been reported in the county. Additionally, out of 10 cancer cases recorded eight were from male patients. The data reveals a similar trend in the Covid-19 deaths whereby out of the 347 deaths that were recorded, 218 were men.

Speaking when he officially opened the camp, Nyeri governor Mutahi Kahiga urged men to give priority to their wellbeing. He encouraged men to emulate their female counterparts who seek help at the first stages of a health problem.

To tackle the rising cases of mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, the governor also said that they will be deploying psychologists in all health facilities to offer psychosocial support.

Kahiga said that due to the success achieved during the first ever camp, the initiative would be cascaded to the other sub-counties to ensure that men feel empowered to seek medical help.

“As a man hiding your health issues until things get out of hand is not a sign of bravery or courage and we want to encourage men to speak out whenever they have a problem and to also seek medical services.  I would also like to encourage men to make a habit of visiting health facilities for frequent checkups to,” said the governor.

One of the beneficiaries of the camp, Ahmed Muya, lauded the organizers for setting aside a day to bring men centered health services closer. He said most men often shy away from seeking help due to fear of being labelled weak and prefer such forums away from the prying eyes.

“According to African culture, men have been taught to put a brave face that is why most of us suffer in silence. This initiative is a good game changer as the specialists are encouraging us to speak out. I am also happy to have benefited from the free services and the free medication because most of what we have been offered today is usually expensive,” he said.

By Wangari Mwangi and Alex Macharia

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