Nairobi — At least 109 patients in Kitui county have benefited from a prostate surgery medical camp conducted by the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
For three days, KNH multidisciplinary team of medical specialists pitched a medical camp in Kitui county where they undertook free surgeries for locals.
KNH said the urological camp managed to successfully offer minimally invasive prostate surgery to 109 patients while another 73 patients underwent urethroplasty, an open surgical reconstruction or replacement of the urethra, due to urethral strictures.
“KNH multidisciplinary team of medical specialists participated in a three-day urological medical camp in Kitui County. 109 patients underwent minimally invasive prostate surgery (TURP) and another 73 patients got urethroplasty due to urethral strictures,” the national referral hospital stated.
The initiative by KNH was geared at creating awareness of prostrate health with a study published on the African Journal of Urology in January 2021 reporting significantly low awareness levels among men in rural settings.
The study which adopted a cross-sectional mixed-method approach revealed 84 per cent of 576 in Gatundu North and Kiambu had not heard of prostate cancer, a key disease affecting prostrate health in Kenya.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common male cancers in Kenya affecting men aged between 35-60 years.
WHO data published in 2018 prostate cancer deaths reached 2,202, representing 0.86 per cent deaths. The age adjusted death rate stood at 33.06 per 100,000 of population, with Kenya ranked 26th globally.
According to research affiliated to the National Cancer Control Centre, the cost of treating prostate cancer is way above the reach of most households in Kenya, dealing a blow to efforts to save the lives of thousands of patients suffering from the disease.
The research conducted in 2018 estimated the cost of treatment between Sh138,000 and Sh1.21 million, with most Kenyans especially in those the rural areas lacking access to affordable health service.
These costs exclude supportive and rehabilitative care and further investigations undertaken within treatment.
The country is also facing the growing demand for cancer treatment, but the nation’s limited supply capacity with respect to diagnosis and treatment poses serious health-care policy challenges to the government.
Widespread lack of awareness and accurate information about cancer is another reason why screening is rare, and many cancers are detected when it is too late to treat effectively.
According to the Regional Cancer Registry at Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), about 80 per cent of reported cases of cancer are diagnosed at advanced stages, when very little can be achieved in terms of curative treatment.