New service will provide coordinated, comprehensive care for patients with cancer
For decades, Tenwek Hospital has been unable to meet the critical medical needs of cancer patients. This is not unusual in a nation that is still developing medical systems and solutions that can be delivered in rural and remote regions. But addressing the need for earlier detection, proper diagnosis, and effective treatment of multiple kinds of cancer has become a top priority for Tenwek Hospital leaders. The commitment to provide oncology services reflects their dedication to maintaining the hospital’s designation as a Christian teaching and referral hospital at the highest level.
John Spriegel, M.D., a long-time missionary doctor at Tenwek, knows first-hand the critical need to add a comprehensive oncology service. “While Tenwek has become a referral hospital in many medical specialties for much of Western Kenya, we are also referring out two cancer patients each day. Some of these patients can handle the travel and expense of seeking treatment in Nairobi. But most, in fact, go home and die. And, like many of our patients, those who come to us with cancer need the spiritual touch of Christ’s healing ministry and not just the medicines we that we have to offer.”
Development of a Dedicated Oncology Unit is Underway
“Tenwek’s Oncology Unit will usher in a new era of outpatient oncology care,” continues Dr. Spriegel. “It will be the only service of its kind in the region to offer coordinated cancer care that encompasses diagnosis and treatment for a range of cancers.”
The new Oncology Unit will be established in two phases. Renovations are underway in an existing building to transform it into a patient-centered, hygienic area that promotes comfort, dignity, and privacy for individuals receiving chemotherapy treatments. The building improvements include floor tiling, painting, new wiring for electrical outlets and computer stations, enhanced lighting, and additional outside doors.
When renovations are complete, the building will feature examination and administration rooms for chemotherapy, offices for clinicians, and specialized areas for processing, storing, and preparing treatments. The medical equipment and furnishings purchased to launch this new service – including a chemotherapy hood – will be moved to the Oncology Unit’s permanent location in the Steury Building when expansion and renovations there are completed in several years.
Tenwek’s financial and staffing plan will ensure the unit’s sustainability. Two clinical officers with higher diplomas in oncology care currently are on staff at Tenwek. The hospital’s head pharmacist has advanced training in chemotherapy medications. Additional oncology nursing training and consultation services are being developed with colleagues at another Kenyan teaching and referral hospital.
The cost to open the phase one version of the Oncology Unit is $182,000 USD. This includes renovation expenses, specialized treatment equipment, and furnishings.
Recognizing both the need to offer cancer care and Tenwek Hospital’s commitment to adding this critical new service, Friends of Tenwek has made the Oncology Unit one of its top fundraising priorities for 2019. FOT is committed to raise $91,000 – half of the necessary funds.
Your gift today in support of the Oncology Unit will extend life and hope to patients with cancer and ensure that Tenwek’s exceptional medical and spiritual care will be delivered in this new specialty area for years to come. You can make a gift here.