Using Technology For Cancer Treatment In Rural Areas

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When Mary Oloo was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, she was baffled when the cost of treating the highly fatal disease hit her mind.

Mary from Oyugis , in Kaispul within Homabay county in her late 50’s contemplated ignoring the her doctor’s advice and wait for the worse but the exacerbation of pain pushed her to seek further medical attention at Sori Lakeside Hospital a small community health facility in the remote parts of Migori county, along the shores of lake Victoria.

She narrates how her three visits to the facility , despite the high costs involved have improved her life by lowering the incessant pain she’d experienced.

Her weekly routine checks ups to the facility costs Shs. 2000 per week in addition to her medication, she says that she spends close to Shs. 12,000 per visit.

The high cost associated with treatment of cancer in the rural parts of Kenya where majority of the population live below the poverty line, has seen medical practitioners and doctors various come up with mechanisms of making cancer treatment accessible and affordable to all.

At the lakeside Hospital, Doctors here have devised ways of reaching their patients virtually and suggesting possible line of treatment for cancer.

Clinton Ochieng, an IT expert at Sori Hospital say the remote medical equipment was installed the facility was installed to assist doctors monitor patients who cannot make it to the facility due to financial constraints or health related issues.

Through telemedicine, the facility can connect to medical experts and oncologists around the globe to discuss and find possible solutions to the various cancer related ailments.

Clinton add that through such technological advancements, they have enrolled several patients in the rural parts on Migori county and beyond and trained them on how to file reports for review by the Doctors.

However, little technological know-how, and poor network connectivity have posed a challenge to many who are forced to travel long distances.

Paul Olick, the director of non- communicable diseases at the Migori county referral Hospital said the despite the high number of cancer cases reported annually, majority face numerous challenges thus ending up defaulting from medication.

Olick adds that in order to keep track of their patients, they’ve enrolled them into support groups through which they get encourage each other on the need of continued medication.

All patients undergoing cancer treatment at Sori lake side hospital have been enrolled to their remote diagnostic system owing to the large population that the facility serves.

Established in the year 2020, the private facility’s cancer treatment unit has impacted on the lives of many who used to travel to Nairobi and Eldoret for management and treatment of cancer.

However, concerns have been raised over the number of people who turn up for screening and early treatment of cancer which has made difficult to treat the disease as the medical facility’s oncology nurse explains.