Our BEST Program
Originally, our health outreach focused on breast cancer after helping a wonderful woman named Dorcas through her struggle. Read about her in the Health section here. As highlighted in her story many unfortunate roadblocks stand in the way of preventable death including (but not limited to) stigmas stemming from a lack of education about cancer, difficulty in getting medical care, and poverty.
As such, we developed the BEST Program: Breast cancer Education, Screening, and Treatment. It has since evolved to include many other cancers, namely cervical, prostate, and esophageal, which are the most common in Kenya.
Our BEST team is making a significant impact by providing much needed services. We provide information about cancer to people in Kisumu, as well as in rural communities in western Kenya where information and health facilities are scarce. The BEST staff cares for women with genuine tenderness and love as they teach self-examination, facilitate screenings, and assist cancer patients in navigating hospital services and treatment.
BEST Program Steps of Care
Step 1: Education and Outreach
Our staff members are educating women and men in villages on healthy living, self examination, and the benefits of early detection. In addition to going door to door and around markets to share information, we are now periodically organizing Health and Medical Camps which offer education and screening in one place, en mass.
Step 2: Screening
We facilitate screening at public and private labs in Kisumu. We also work with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) to offer mammography screening for those who need it.
Step 3: Treatment
We work very closely with Kisumu Hospice and JOOTRH to offer support for anyone who needs treatment. We assist women and other patients in covering the high cost of treatment including lab work, pain medication, the purchase of chemotherapy drugs, and more.
Step 4: Care at Joanna's House
When patients require treatment in the capital city, Nairobi, they are oftentimes at a loss for where to stay and how to navigate such a large hospital. We therefore offer low-cost, full-board accommodation at Joanna's House for patients receiving outpatient treatment. There is an on-site care taker who assists with appointments and any associated needs the patient may have.
Learn why we do this and how we've grown by reading about Dorcas and our phases of growth here.
The Cancer Situation in Kenya
In Kenya, and Africa in general, cancer is emerging as a leading cause of death, and has prompted experts to refer to the situation as a crisis, and the ‘newest epidemic’.
The Kenya Cancer Society says the situation is alarming. It has become obvious that the cancer situation in Africa is deadly and needs urgent response.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of rural dwellers live in fear of this ‘killer disease' because information, screening and treatment services for different cancers are not accessible or available to them.
For those who sought treatment there has been little hope. In 2011,more than 28,000 sought treatment with 22,000 of them loosing the battle (78% death rate!).
The most prevalent and high mortality cases have been breast and cervical cancer. Published reports show that in 2008 for example, 5114 breast and cervical cancer patients sought treatment, and sadly 3170 of them died.
There is a very urgent need for cancer information, screening and treatment services in Kenya. Join us in making an impact!