Most cancers in Kenya are diagnosed late
GIVING HOPE AND A REAL CHANCE OF RECOVERY
Faraja Cancer Support Trust was set up in 2010 by Shaira Adamali, a cancer patient who got some of her treatment in Nairobi and some in the UK. Whilst undergoing treatment abroad she noticed a gap in the psycho social support in Kenya compared to what she received in England. This birthed the inception of Faraja, a charitable trust, based in Nairobi and soon to open in Eldoret, offering free complementary therapies to cancer patients and their care givers.
Faraja’s main mandate initially was to provide information and therapies to aid patients through their chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. However, with an increased cancer burden in Kenya, there is a higher demand for financial assistance for patients. This is largely due to the 3 reasons below:
1. There are only 14 registered oncologists in Kenya for a population of 45million (compared to 766 in the UK. This leads to an annual mortality rate of 27,000 a year due to cancer compared to 7 in 10 in the developed world.
2. Cancer treatment is hugely expensive – even for those who can afford it the resources are sparse. Radiotherapy treatment in Kenya is offered publicly and subsidized at Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya’s largest referral hospital. However, there are only 3 functioning radiotherapy machines and one frequently breaks down. This leads to a waiting list of over a year long. The only alternatives most patients have are private clinics which charge an average of $60-100 per session, a sum many cannot afford.
3. During a conference for East Africa Insurance that was held in February of 2017, it was revealed that only 12% of Kenyans have medical insurance. This translates to about 480,000 Kenyans who have insurance covers out of the country’s over 40 million people population.
For these reasons, Faraja Cancer Support Trust launched the Faraja Medical Support Fund (FMSF) on 12th November 2016 with the aim of developing an effective system which will enable adults and children with cancer to obtain the right treatment at the right time. This gives hope and a real chance of recovery as well as reducing the suffering of many.
The treatment that Faraja funds is provided at private and government institutions in Nairobi. Faraja aims to raise Kshs 100,000,000 (US$1,000,000). A corpus of funds that, when invested, will ensure up to 50 patients receive treatment every year. The fund will cover medical costs such as surgery, brachetherapy , chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal therapy. The beneficiaries will be required to cover the initial consultation and the first 10% of the treatment plan. To qualify for a grant, individuals will submit an application form which will be vetted monthly by members of an expert panel. The selection criteria will be based on the financial status of the applicant, type of cancer, prognosis and age
A pilot project for the fund was carried out in 2014 from a donation given by Nakumatt Holdings during their October cancer awareness campaign, “Let’s Fight This Battle Together”.
The Pilot funded 42 grants to children and adults at the cost of Kshs 5,548,634 with an average grant of Kshs 137,270.Vincent is a recent beneficiary of the medical fund. The 41year old single father of three was diagnosed in January 2017 with a localized rectal tumour and urgently needed financial assistance to cover his chemotherapy, radiotherapy and colostomy (surgical procedure that brings one end of the large intestine out through the abdominal wall). Through Faraja’s medical fund, Vincent is now on his way to recovery after receiving a grant for surgery and to cover the cost of therapy after the NHIF* rebate.
“If it wasn’t for Faraja’s support I do not think I would be alive right now. I am poor and I’m not employed. The help we receive saves lives and I am a living testament.”-says a cheerful Vincent.
Cancer can have a devastating financial impact on survivors and their families. Even if you have good health insurance coverage, your direct medical costs and related nonmedical expenses can quickly add up. Most direct medical costs resulting from cancer treatment (such as physicians' fees, hospital expenses, and pharmacy bills) are covered at least in part by basic health insurance plans.
The fund has now raised Kshs 80million. The funds raised were sourced from various supporters, sponsors and events. Some notable early adopters include Anthony Havelock, who organised the Natalie Blue Ball in London on the 10th of September 2016 in loving memory of his wife who passed on from metastatic breast cancer. The ball raised £110,000. A sub-fund within the FMSF called the Natalie Fund was created to financially assist young mothers with breast cancer. Gemma McRae and Johnny Limb also organised a fun golf day and fabulous Rio Carnival Ball at night. These two amazing events raised an additional Kshs 3.86 million shillings for the Natalie Fund. Faraja’s Founding Trustee, Shaira also did a 350km bike ride in October 2015 Tanzania and raised Kshs 14million for the Fund.
“I feel so passionate about this ground breaking initiative.” Quips Shaira
For more information on how to support our fund please visit us at HCG-CCK, Shivachi Road Parklands (next to MP Shah Hospital)