MEDICAL CAMPS

Scribe in 20-day run to raise awareness on heart diseases

Jamenya has partnered with the Kisumu Heart Centre, will run from Nairobi to Kisumu

In Summary
  • Joseph Jamenya has partnered with the Kisumu Heart Centre in a 20-day run from Nairobi to Kisumu to raise awareness on cardiovascular diseases.
  • The scribe urged the government to give attention to cardiovascular diseases prevention.
Journalist Joseph Jamenya
CAMPAIGNER: Journalist Joseph Jamenya
Image: MARTIN OMBIMA

As the world prepares to mark the World Heart Day on September 29, a Vihiga-based journalist has decided to make a difference in his own little way.

Joseph Jamenya has partnered with the Kisumu Heart Centre in a 20-day run from Nairobi to Kisumu to raise awareness on cardiovascular diseases.

Moved by the plight of his parents after his father died from heart complications and the mother currently suffering from a cardiovascular disease,  Jamenya,  in an initiative dubbed JAY Jay heart run, targets to create awareness to over two million people through the run.

The scribe begun the run on Wednesday at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi and is expected to cover about 346km to Kisumu.

The run was initially planned to cover about 900km from Mombasa to Vihiga for 46 days, however, the plan was changed due to Covid-19 concerns.

Medical camps will be erected along the heart run route to help with diagnosis of the disease and sensitisation.

“The camps seek to help residents get services without having to spend a lot on travel,” he said.

"Cardiovascular diseases are currently rampant among our people a fact that many people are not aware of and that is why I want to help inform the public about it,” he said.

Jamenya is expected to pass through the counties of Kiambu, Nyandarua, Nakuru and Kericho where he will pay a visit to county referral hospitals to raise awareness.

“I appeal to the national government to give full attention to this pandemic even as it concentrates on curbing spread of coronavirus,” he said.

“Heart complication issues need proper attention and can be expensive to seek medical attention,” Jamenya said.

He said most patients succumb because of financial constraints as they cannot afford the necessary treatment.

The scribe urged the government to give attention to cardiovascular diseases prevention the same way it has given to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Vihiga County Referral Hospital medical superintendent Vitalis Juma appealed to the National government to cover patients with heart complications under the NHIF.

“Once we have them covered then we shall ease the medical burden from the patients,” Juma said.

Kisumu Heart Centre cardiologist Nalwa Wafula says CVDs are a pandemic globally.

“About 30 per cent of Kenyan adults suffer from CVDs,” he said, adding that, “Kenyans need to develop a culture of visiting hospitals to check on the condition of their hearts.” 

He said the conditions are manageable if detected early.

Nalwa urged the government to invest in managing CVDs to save lives saying he receives more than 500 patients monthly seeking treatment for the diseases at the Kisumu Heart Centre.

“For universal health care to be achieved, the government needs to invest in the health of people and ensure they can access quality services. This can only be realised if the government partners with the private sector,” he said.

“The government should come up with friendly policies that will keep our investors on the track,” he said.

Kisumu county Health chief officer Gregory Ganda said he is willing to strengthen the partnership for quality service provision to Kenyans.

“CVDs medication are costly and as a government, we need to partner with the private sector to ensure our people receive this service at a reasonable cost and bring it closer to them as well,” Ganda said.

-Edited by SKanyara