Fibroids. Source: Wikimedia
Tens of Kenyan women suffer from fibroids, but lack of awareness and financial problems pose a great challenge to them. The most affected are women from urban slums and rural areas, where access to medical care is non-existent.
For twenty years, Agnes Munene experienced what she terms as “pain in my stomach” and copious menstruation, but did not understand her ailment. The little money she got from hawking groundnuts in the slums of Kayole, eastern part of Nairobi, could not afford her the privilege of a medical checkup. She spent all the proceeds to buy food for her four children and pay rent. There was no one to explain her condition, thus she turned to tablets, commonly known us painkillers, to ease pain.
“When I first felt the pain, I took it as a post-natal complication that would soon ebb away. I could take the tablets and the pain would ease, only for the problem to persist months later,” said the 56-year old.
“I bought the idea of friends who advised me to seek the services of a witchdoctor and herbalists, but these never got me out of the woods. The situation worsened.” She added.
Her lease of life came when friends, realizing her condition could get out of hand, held a funds-drive and took her to Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya’s leading public health facility. Doctors diagnosed her with symptomatic fibroids and surgical operation recommended.
She is not the only- dozens of Kenyan women share her ordeal, not able to foot the Ksh. 400,000 required for an operation. It is estimated that 4 out of 10 women in the East African nation suffer from fibroids, according to Aghakan University Hospital in Nairobi. The introduction of the Uterine Fibroid Embolization is a stride the country boasts, but many still suffer.