Residents of Kirinyaga County have been urged to embrace routine screening for cancer to enable early diagnosis and timely treatment.
Head of Renal Unit at Kerugoya Hospital, Rachael Nyaga said those found to have indications of the disease will be referred to Kerugoya County Hospital for further diagnosis such as mammogram to enable the necessary management and treatment plan.
She said cancer had become a silent killer with many people living with it unknowingly adding that it is estimated that 250 women in Kirinyaga County live with cancer, 10 percent of them unawares.
Nyaga at the same time said the majority of the kidney-related diseases that have been registered in the county are attributed to modern agricultural-related practices. “The intake of river water polluted with farm chemicals that infiltrate into the rivers has immensely contributed to the surge of the diseases,” she said.
She said many of the county residents being farmers use farm chemicals on their tomatoes, coffee, French beans, and other farm produce posing a great risk because, once it rains, the chemicals are drained into rivers thus polluting them and making their waters unsafe for human use.
Nyaga said they have also taken to educating the residents against self-diagnosis and medication as doing so can bring about malfunctioning of the kidneys. “While unwell it is important to seek medical attention in a healthcare facility so that one can be given the right medication,” Nyaga said.
Adding that: “We are also urging our people to check on their diet and stop consuming excess starchy foods which brings about obesity thus exposing one to the risk of contracting non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension which in turn leads to kidney ailments.”
Nyaga said Kidney related diseases are not selective of age and can attack any person adding that the youngest patient they have treated was aged 15 years and the oldest 87.
She expressed concern over the low rate of men who go for medical check-ups saying that has equally contributed to a rise in the number of men battling kidney diseases in the country.
Nyaga said the county has eight dialysis machines which have gone a long way in catering for Kidney patients in the region. She said an estimated 300 patients have undergone dialysis treatment since the inception of the renal unit in 2018 with 15 patients receiving the treatment on a daily basis.
“Each week a patient is supposed to visit the facility twice whereby with the use of an artificial kidney we flush out waste from the blood and then return the filtered blood into the body using the dialysis machine,” she explained.
Joseph Murigu, a kidney failure patient who has been undergoing dialysis at Kerugoya hospital’s renal unit says since he embarked on the treatment in 2019, his pain has eased and was now able to perform daily chores.
Murigu said he lost his mother to kidney complications and urged the government to strive to eradicate the disease.