Faraja launches an innovative health fund to pay for cancer treatments

By KBC Reporter/Statement

Faraja Cancer Support Trust (Faraja) has Tuesday announced the launch of an innovative health fund that will pay for cancer treatments for selected low income Kenyans in perpetuity.

It is designed to be a growing fund with an initial amount of Kshs. 100 million, which will be invested with some of Kenya’s leading fund managers.

Treatment will be provided for at least 50 patients annually, forever and it will be financed from the Fund’s invested income.

Over the past 2 years, Faraja has run a pilot project to offer grants to adults and children in desperate need of life-saving medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation. All had nowhere else to turn. The results have been outstanding – to date 60 adults and children have received a financial grant with 90% are alive and doing well today.

Shaira Adamali, Founding Trustee, Faraja, says, “Our pilot project was not only very effective, showing the need for sustainable financial intervention to help treat cancer; it’s stigma-busting the fact that cancer is a death sentence in Kenya.”

Subsidized cancer treatment is available in public hospitals, however, the demand exceeds capacity.  And the waiting list can be up to a year.  By this time, it is likely that the cancer can have advanced and spread.

Fundraising for the Faraja Medical Fund is currently underway, with Kshs. 60 million raised to date, from corporate and individual grants. The balance of the financing will be raised over the next 2 years, through local and international grants and fundraising initiatives.

Adamali comments, “Late diagnosis and long waiting times, continue to contribute to cancer mortality in Kenya. We advocate for regular screening, as there’s a clear link between early diagnosis and higher chances of survival. It can be cheaper to treat early stage, as opposed to late stage, cancer.”

In Kenya, one out of three people will get cancer and one in every 10 children will survive – compared to 7 out of 10 in developed markets. The annual cancer mortality rate in Kenya is 27,000 and cancer cases are increasing everyday.  Out of a population of 43 million people, there are only 14 oncologists.

Sonal Sejpal, Faraja Trustee says, “The cancer statistics in Kenya are tragic. Without help for medical treatment, many patients have a lower chance of survival as they wait for treatment in hard-pressed public health facilities Through the Faraja Cancer Support Fund, our vision is to accelerate the pace at which we are able to save lives, reduce suffering and provide access to quality healthcare.”

Faraja was founded in 2010. As well as providing financial assistance for medical treatment, it has been providing thousands of hours of complementary services for cancer sufferers and their caregivers for free. Services include nutrition advice, counseling, cancer support groups, fitness sessions and different types of massages.

This has been made possible by a range of fundraising events including; White Water Rafting, Kenya Biggest Coffee Morning, Nakumatt’s “Let’s fight this battle together”, Shaira’s bike ride and Natalie’s Ball.

“We are grateful for the support we continue to get from corporates, individual donors and volunteers. It is clear that with the right approaches and governance structures, the practice of philanthropy is alive in Kenya. Thanks to philanthropic support, we’ve managed to sustain a broad range of initiatives, culminating in the launch the Faraja Cancer Support Fund,” concludes Adamali.


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