Cancer care in Meru County is expected to improve after the Kamashinani and EK Foundations signed a partnership agreement to intervene and support the existing cancer centre situated at Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital.
On Thursday, Kamashinani Foundation Director, who is also Meru Senator Kathuri Murungi, and the founder of EK Foundation, Ms. Esther Kurtz, visited the facility on a fact-finding mission in order to know the main areas of intervention.
According to Mr. Murungi, the collaboration between the two partners will be a great step for the entire county, especially considering that the centre receives patients from as far as Marsabit, Tharaka Nithi, and Isiolo counties.
He said EK, through the Kamashinani Foundation, will be bringing in drugs and other medical supplies that will go a long way in supporting the cancer center.
‘My partner has seen the challenges we have in the cancer centre, and already before we embark on this, we have noticed that we have a problem with the registry and retrieving data and information on patients.’
‘To address this, she has promised to immediately donate 10 computers for the cancer centre, which will be programmed so that the patients’ details can be retrieved and aligned for fast service,’ said Mr. Murungi.
Mr. Murungi noted that the conditional grant that the county gets from the Treasury as well as the money that is allocated to the county government were not enough to satisfactorily cater for the health needs in the county, and therefore, such partnerships were the way to go.
‘The county government only gets Sh200 million for drugs in all our health facilities, and to say the least, this is not even enough. The cancer centre alone requires about Sh1 billion per year, and therefore, when we get such partners, we cannot take it for granted,’ said Mr. Murungi.
He added, ‘To me, the partnership is a big gain to our county and especially the health sector, and I hope the foundation will help Meru more, and we will start very expensive programmes with a lot of research on what our people want so the foundation can be of help.’
Murungi said healthcare generally requires a huge budget, and this is one area that needs intervention even from the Senate to see whether the sector can get more money during allocations.
Ms. Kurtz Esther said her foundation was passionate about supporting healthcare, especially programmes that will eradicate the cancer menace, since being free from diseases is the most paramount thing for a human being.
‘We are aware that Meru is one of the leading counties in terms of cancer cases, and therefore we have come to get information that we will use to support in various ways,’ said Ms. Kurtz.
She thanked the people of Meru for receiving them and also Senator Murungi for inviting them, making an assurance that her foundation will offer support as much as was needed.
The County Health Executive, Dr. George Mungania, thanked the two partners for finding it worthwhile to intervene, especially on issues of cancer, adding that this was the main disease bedevilling the region.
‘As a county, we run the cancer centre and offer chemotherapy, but we have not yet started offering radiotherapy services.’
On average, we receive about 6,000 cancer cases at the cancer centre alone, emanating from Marsabit, Tharaka Nithi, and Isiolo, and this gives us a huge burden,’ said Dr. Mungania.
He said the coming of the two partners was a great relief and that the county government will offer any support required in order to fulfil their mandate.
Other areas in which the two foundations will intervene include school feeding programmes, environmental campaigns, clean water for schools, and women and youth empowerment.
Source: Kenya News Agency