Residents Benefit from Free Medical Camp

Counties Editor's Pick Health Nakuru

Residents of Nakuru County have benefited from a free medical camp that focused mainly on ear-related ailments.

The programme, an initiative of the County Government took place at the Nakuru Teaching and Referral Hospital during celebrations to mark the World Hearing Day.

According to the organizers, the Open-day medical camp with the theme “Ear and hearing care for all” provided hearing loss and ear infections reviews, free blood pressure checks and free blood sugar checks.

While noting that primary health care can address over 60 percent of the ear and hearing health issues, County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Health Services Ms Jackline Osoro noted that the initiative had helped people in the community with various ear conditions.

The free ear medical camp that doubled up as public awareness activity that was conducted by specialists from the Hospital’s Ear, Nose, and Throat- (ENT) Unit further educated the public on the best ear health habits towards reducing the hearing loss brought by congenital disorders, accidents, noise pollution and infections among other factors, which frequently goes undiagnosed until it is too late.

The exercise that targeted disadvantaged members of the community who would otherwise not afford the services, also sought to create awareness on affordable medical services in the county.

Ms Osoro said ear disease is often neglected and riddled with myths and misinformation. She indicated that often when people developed discharge from the ears without receiving urgent medical care, the condition would deteriorate to severe infections and other growths in the ear leading to hearing loss and balance.

She said that, just like non-communicable diseases, ear, nose and throat (ENT) diseases have shot up over the years, adding that the County government was coming up with strategies to contain them.

“These are diseases of great economic importance and we need to invest as a country and put a lot of effort to ensure that we address ear related diseases.  We are emphasizing the need to develop capacity of county staff as well as training more ENT specialists,” The CECM added

According to the Ministry of Health, half the hearing loss cases can be prevented with early intervention. But this has been impracticable as Kenya is also faced with the shortage of specialists to diagnose ear problems.

Statistics by the World Health Organization indicate that over five per cent of the world’s population, which translates to 430 million people, require rehabilitation to address their ‘disabling’ hearing loss. Of these, 34 million are children.

Ms Osoro assured the public that the Nakuru County Teaching and Referral Hospital had adequate and modern equipment and therefore going forward, patients from the Rift valley can always visit the facility and get services.

During a similar ear camp at the facility in December last year nine patients went through successful surgeries conducted by a team of otolaryngologists who are specialists in inner ear surgery.

According to Dr. Michael Sitima, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeon the ground-breaking surgery is called ossicular chain reconstruction whereby surgeons repair the small bones in the ear which aid in hearing.

He said in most of the patients being operated on, the disease had destroyed the small bones in the ear that aid in hearing, noting that the acicular chain reconstruction surgery restores hearing.

“Through acicular chain reconstruction, destroyed small bones in the ear are replaced with microscopic artificial ones,” said Dr Sitima. One case would take about six to eight hours of surgery depending on the complexity.”

The cost of the specialized ear surgery ranges between Sh500,000 and Sh1 million depending on the complexity of the case.

By Jane Ngugi

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