US NGOs offer free health care to low-income families (article from Daily Nation)

Organisers of the Imara Daima medical camp offer counselling to a patient in Imara Daima estate, Nairobi. PHOTO | FAUSTINE NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The ever skyrocketing cost of living in Kenya has pushed more low income earners in urban areas to the wall, forcing them to abandon paying for National Health Insurance Fund monthly premiums.

The Sh500 fee a month has now been directed to other household needs, leaving them vulnerable and uncovered by the government’s medicare scheme.

It is this gap that has motivated non-profit organisations to penetrate into Kenya’s urban slums to offer free medical checks and treatments.

Two such organisations are Jubilant Stewards of Africa (JSA) and International Health Operations Patients Education and Empowerment (IHOPEE) from the United States that have partnered to offer free medical care to thousands of low income settlement dwellers in Nairobi and Kisumu.

Addressing the press at their Mombasa Road offices, officials from both organisations promised to ride on the spirit of helping the needy, having already provided healthcare to over 1,200 patients at Imara Daima, Nairobi and Agoro, Kisumu.

As residents confessed, the program has given them more access to healthcare.

A Rarieda resident who has been suffering from malaria expressed his delight after receiving free medication at Kisumu.

“I have been sick for a while but I lacked money for treatment. The free medical camp has come at the opportune moment. Since I began taking drugs, am now feeling better and I hope to recover soon,” said Mr Johnson Olera..

Martha Ogoti’s life has been chained by pneumonia, Kenya’s number one killer disease but since she visited doctors at the camp, she is now recovering gradually.

“I would plea to the organizers to go countrywide as there are thousands of Kenyans who cannot afford these services but they’re in dire need,” said Ms Ogoti.

Ihopee’s Kenyan representative Mr Silas Kanali said the medical camps shall be held in Nairobi’s Kayole on November 14th and 15th, then Mukuru kwa Njenga before returning the generosity to Kisumu’s slums.

“Our objective is to reach people of all walks of life who cannot afford expensive medical attention,” he said.

Health services being offered include cancer screening, baby vaccinations, surgery, and HIV/AIDS testing besides treating malaria, pneumonia, diabetes, arthritis and blood pressure.

“We would like to see a society where the poor, the middle class and the rich have equal access to medicare. These medical camps are open for everyone who has been turned away in hospitals for lack of finances.”

The cooperation framework targets to eventually go countrywide and flush out diseases from villages and reduce the prevalence of infections in Kenya’s low per capita regions.

“We have a team of 15 doctors most of them from USA, Canada and Egypt  who will attend to about 600 patients per day,” said Jubilant Stewards of Africa’s head of communications Jared Oundo.

Article by Faustine Ngila

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