Faraja is a safehaven for cancer patients in Kenya
Grace is a single mother of two children. She was leading a normal life, albeit in economic strain as she is a peasant farmer and erks a living through casual work. Her youngest child is only 11 years old.
It therefore came as a shock to her and her family when after excessive and continuous menstrual bleeding, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer, stage one. She had, before this incident never experienced any ill health. Unfortunate for her, her diagnosis came at a time when Kenyan doctors were on a Nationwide strike hence hampering medical services. She could not afford private hospital fees and was forced to fundraise for a hysterectomy( surgical removal of her uterus).
Her friends and family came to her aid and she was able to have the surgery done. Regardless of having a National Health Insurance Fund cover ( NHIF) she still needed financial assistance as the state owned health insurance only caters for 25% of chemotherapy and radiotherapy costs.
“I knew that there was no way I could have treatment done because I had no money.” Grace says, further adding that her eldest child, 22 was jobless and has no tertiary training to secure employment.
Spurred by the thoughts of her children, she got the courage to talk to the doctors a private hospital.
One of the doctors advised her to apply for financial assistant with Faraja and she received a positive response within two weeks.
“Without Faraja, I would never have afforded this treatment that saved my life and gave me a second chance to take care of my children.” Grace says.
During the course of this interview, Grace was on a 6 week break from chemotherapy and was set to resume radiotherapy treatment.
“I feel healthy, awesome, I can even travel by myself unaided.”
What advice would she give anyone newly diagnosed with cancer?
“I would tell anyone feeling ill to seek medical help promptly, to take heart if it turns out to be cancer, because it is treatable. ”
About the Faraja Medical Support Fund
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 brings hope and real chance of recovery. The mission is to galvanise the support of a small but powerful group with the vision and capacity to come together and make a meaningful and long lasting impact by making sizable donations into the fund.
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.