Nakuru County has promised to support Nakuru Hospice with additional staff and drugs pending inclusion of hospice care in the county health budget in the next financial budget plans.
The good news was relayed at Nakuru Hospice charity walk that took place over the weekend.
Speaking at the event, Nakuru County Chief of Health Dr Samwel Mwaura said that partnership with Nakuru Hospice has started and is set to continue.
Dr Mwaura said that they are going to provide drugs for the next three months and second additional staff to the Hospice.
“We shall also hasten the opening of Molo and Naivasha Hospital Palliative Care Units in the course of this year,” said Dr Mwaura
Flagging off the 10km walk, Nakuru County First Lady Mrs. Lucia Mbugua appealed to the County Government, Business Community and other service providers to support the Hospice in taking care of cancer patients given that the disease has become life threatening in the County and the Country at large.
Mrs. Mbugua urged residents to go for early screening and treatment to avoid late diagnosis which causes a lot of suffering.
Nakuru Hospice Chairperson Dr Timothy Olweny appealed to the community to take their health seriously and not wait for too long to get tested.
Dr Olweny said that many free screening services have been offered in Nakuru and people should take advantage.
He appealed to the National Government to adequately equip more hospitals so that they can treat cancer (chemotherapy & radiotherapy) and cushion patients from traveling to Kenyatta which is already congested at the same time making cancer treatment affordable.
Nakuru Hospice Founder Trustee and CEO M/s. Elizabeth Ndung’u said that the walk aimed at raising awareness of availability of palliative care services within the County at the Hospice and the support it needs from the community for its sustainability.
“We also used the platform to raise funds to equip our hospice so as to continue offering quality services to our patients,” said M/s. Ndung’u.
She said that cancer is not a death sentence but treatable if diagnosed early adding that they were seeking for the County Government’s support in expanding its programs to County and Sub-County hospitals.
M/s. Ndung’u said that many clients come from far within the County and decentralization of palliative care services to other hospitals and training of health professionals would see these services available closer to the people.
The Hospice CEO had earlier requested the Nakuru County Ministry of Health to be part of their worthy course and support the Hospice with drugs and other resources including land for expansion of the hospice.
She highlighted luck of funds as a challenge saying that they are considering to hold the event annually to cushion their budget as well as other events including a charity golf tournament and a dinner or music extravaganza.
“We also have few staff members who are overwhelmed by work as the number of patients is continually increasing to over 2000 currently,” she said.
Besides having a program for home based care, M/s. Ndung’u said poor road infrastructure is proving a challenge especially during the rainy season.
Over 400 participants, majority of them students, showed up to support Nakuru Hospice during the charity walk.
She thanked Brookside Dairies as the main event sponsor among other sponsors that include Happy Cow Ltd, Lesiolo Grain Handlers, Tuskys Supermarket, Wool mat Supermarket, Cool Rivers Hotels, Business & Professional Women Club, M/S Rongai W/shop & Transport Company, Chase Bank, Credit Bank, Menengai Hard Ware & Motor Spares Ltd, Families & Individuals, Rotarians from Rotary Clubs of Nakuru and Great Rift Valley Clubs, Schools, colleges and universities present.
The CEO said that the center serves people with chronic illnesses that are not likely to be cured and given that most come from poor background; they need support in terms of medicine, psychosocial support, spiritual care, home visits and many more.