In Summary
  • Ms Atieno is among Kenyan women with cervical cancer who cannot afford treatment in local private hospitals and in India and are opting for treatment in Uganda. 
  • A cancer patient at Mulago Hospital only identified as Mama Njoki told the Sunday Nation the waiting list at KNH was so long that she feared her situation would get worse.
  • Dr Akula blamed the situation on lack of cancer treatment equipment and oncologists (cancer specialists) due to low investment by the Kenyan Government.

When Margaret Atieno was diagnosed with cervical cancer last month, her greatest worry was where she would get treatment before the disease spread any further.

At the back of Ms Atieno’s mind was the experience of her sister, who had to make several trips to Nairobi from Kisumu for almost a year to get treatment.

 “I feared I would undergo the same. And since mine was serious and at an advanced stage, my doctor referred to Mulago Cancer Centre in Uganda with the hope of getting quicker attention,” she says.
She had been undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kisumu.

The gamble worked. The doctors at Mulago told her she could be admitted immediately as long as she had a referral letter.

Ms Atieno is among Kenyan women with cervical cancer who cannot afford treatment in local private hospitals and in India and are opting for treatment in Uganda. 

LONG WAIT

A cancer patient at Mulago Hospital only identified as Mama Njoki told the Sunday Nation the waiting list at KNH was so long that she feared her situation would get worse.

“After the diagnosis last month, I was told that the earliest the specialist doctor could see me would be June next year, which I considered too long a time to wait for treatment,” she said.

That is when a friend advised her to try the Mulago National Referral Hospital . She then requested her doctor for a referral letter.

“I am lucky I can afford money to travel to Mulago,” she asked.

Situated in Kampala, Mulago is the largest hospital in Uganda and is a teaching facility for the Makerere University’s College of Health Sciences.

Kisumu-based gynaecologist Aggrey Akula said the facilities at KNH, the biggest referral hospital in the region, are stretched.

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