Seek qualified medical help, PM says

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Tuesday urged Kenyans to seek qualified medical attention and abandon habitual self medication.

Speaking while opening a Non Communicable Disease (NCDs) Conference in Nairobi, he said undergoing laboratory tests was key in the prevention and control of non communicable diseases which are now the leading causes of deaths globally.

“Some people can say someone has a swelling, but they don’t know what it is; they keep on giving him traditional medicine, you need to go for testing,” he explained as he pointed out at other common sicknesses that people take for granted, “my toe is paining, you just eat ‘panadols’! That could lead into a stroke!”

He was saddened that many Kenyans were trending on dangerous grounds of self diagnosis and even self treatment even when they have killer diseases that could otherwise have been treated professionally.

He appealed to international and local health supporters to prioritise medical care in their funding plans to African countries with keen interest on treatment, control and prevention of NCDs by offering affordable NCD Medicare.

“We must as a matter of urgency call upon the international community to include prevention and control of NCDs in all future internationally agreed development goals,” Mr Odinga stressed.

The PM further urged stakeholders to rally their efforts in educating the public on symptoms of common non communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and among others heart diseases.

The Premier also felt that Kenya should invest in modernising diagnosis and treatments of NCDs with a view to reducing high mortality caused by NCDs which were already in the increase.

“Even today 50 percent of all hospital admissions and 55 percent of hospital deaths in Kenya are due to NCDs,” he asserted.

He announced that he will lead Kenya’s delegation to the United Nations Global Summit on NCD in New York in September to voice the seriousness of NCDs in Kenya.

Health Minister Prof Anyang Nyong’o who is a cancer survivor and has been at the forefront educating the public on the importance of early diagnosis recommended for training of doctors and nurses to control NCDs.

Mobilisation of ample resources to support patients with NCDs is one of the outstanding issues that Prof Nyong’o pointed out as critical in addressing control and management of such diseases.

Ferdinand Wangura who was diagnosed with chronic Leukemia six years ago moved delegates attending the conference with the story of his struggles as he braves a fight for his life.

He said it was too expensive for him to go for treatment as he pleaded with the government and other health supporters to make available affordable services for NCDs.

“It has not been an easy ride, it’s been very bumpy, this initiative has come at the right time because so many Kenyans out there are going through a very rough time in the fight against cancer,” he expressed.

“Luckily enough for me, for Leukemia patients, there is a drug that we take that makes me look like this (he said showing his intact physique) but there are many other types of cancers and they cannot be treated the same. Cancer treatment is very expensive and a very tough challenge!” he added.

Mr Wangura appreciated the conference as he urged the delegates to come up with interventions that will help patients with NCDs such as cancer to sail through with little or too much money.

The three-day conference opened in Nairobi and the participants proceeded to Naivasha for discussions on control and management of non communicable diseases after the official opening at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

NCDs have been classified as the number one killer globally. They include heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, diabetes and chronic kidney disease among others.

They are said to be on the increase due to bad lifestyles associated with lack of proper diets, lack of exercise, abuse of alcohol and among others smoking.

JUDIE KABERIA

JUDIE KABERIA

Judie, a Special Projects Reporter started practicing journalism in 2003. She has worked in Kenya and Germany. Judie has scooped awards in Reproductive Health, Population, Gender and Development. She has participated in international conferences in Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands. Judie has written a booklet, 'Justice and Peace in the Kenyan Eye'. She has a soft spot for human rights, crime, peace and justice stories. She has a Master's Degree in New Media, Governance and Democracy, University of Leicester (U.K).