Tenwek Opens Renal & Oncology Unit

New services provide much-needed care for underserved patients

 Tenwek Hospital’s ability to serve the needs of patients presenting with kidney disease and cancer was immeasurably strengthened with the September opening of a new Renal and Oncology Unit (ROU). FOT raised more than half of the $190,000 cost to renovate and equip an existing building in the first phase of a longer-term plan to house these services permanently in a dedicated facility. This support includes contracting for the provision of five dialysis machines which are scheduled to be operating on-site early next year.

According to John Spriegel, M.D., a long-time missionary doctor at Tenwek, the hospital has become an important referral hospital for much of Western Kenya, but previously was unable to treat patients needing dialysis and renal replacement therapy or chemotherapy. While these patients were referred to services in Nairobi, Dr. Spriegel acknowledges that some could not manage the travel and expense and simply went home to die. “We also know that, like many of our patients, those who come to us with renal disease and cancer need the spiritual touch of Christ’s healing ministry and not just the medicines that we have to offer.”

Rev. Elijah Bii, Director of Spiritual Ministries at Tenwek Hospital, leads the staff in prayer at the dedication of the ROU.

The new facility was renovated to provide comfort, dignity, and privacy for patients who need dialysis and chemotherapy treatments. It features examination and administration rooms for dialysis and chemotherapy, equipment for telemedicine consults, offices for clinicians, and specialized areas for water processing and the storage and preparation of chemotherapeutic agents. The medical equipment and furnishings purchased to launch this new service – including dialysis and water purification machines and the chemotherapy preparation hood – will be moved to the ROU’s permanent location when that project is completed in several years.

A detailed financial and staffing plan will ensure the ROU’s sustainability. For example, Kenya’s National Health Insurance Fund covers the cost of twice-weekly dialysis. A training program for five renal medicine staff members has been developed with colleagues at another Kenyan teaching and referral hospital and two nurses have been hired. Two clinical officers with higher diplomas in oncology care are on staff at Tenwek and the hospital’s head pharmacist has advanced training in chemotherapy medications.

Moses Tanui, a Clinical Officer/Medical Oncologist with a decade of service at Tenwek, will work in the ROU. “We are all very excited to begin this service which has never before been available here,” he explains. “We are excited for our donors’ support and now, as patients are being touched, even God will be excited with what we are doing.”

Thank you to the generous and faithful FOT donors who helped make this vital project a reality in record time!