Karatina University was engaged in a training workshop with the Aga Khan University and Teaching Hospital for community caregivers at the Main Campus on Friday, 24th May 2019. This initiative is part of the wider agenda of creating awareness on the cancer pandemic through the auspices of Carry Your Candle Initiative established by Karatina University to be pivotal in reaching out to ailing members of the society especially in hospices across the region. Cancer is currently ranked the third Killer in Kenya with over 30,000 deaths annually. In the recent past, the disease has claimed a number of prominent Kenyans, besides many who are ailing at home or in hospitals. This calls for action to create awareness and build the capacity of those affected.
The community caregivers provide volunteer care services to the sick in the society especially cancer patients. Many of them are not adequately trained and do social support with limited skills in patient care and management. Having identifies this gap, the university invited medical personnel to provide skills training to the caregivers. In partnership with 10 community leaders, 110 caregivers were identified within Mathira East and Mathira West through balanced representations. Most of the caregivers are affiliated to community based health organizations for general health awareness.
Welcoming the trainees to Karatina University on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Patrick Mathenge, Director of Post Graduate Studies informed the gathering that Karatina University is committed to enhance outreach activities that will impact directly on the community. Noting the partnership between Karatina University and the Agakhan University Hospital, he appreciated the hospital for the continued support to Karatina University especially in cancer awareness creation.
The training was conducted by a team from Aga Khan university Hospital led by Prof. Ronald Wasike, a Breast Surgeon Specialist and Consultant at the hospital. The topics covered ranged from overview of palliative care to basic concepts of communication and counselling .Participants were very interactive with the experts sharing moving experiences of patient care. They thanked Karatina University and Agakhan University Hospital for providing such an opportunity to have them trained for free.
The University in collaboration with like-minded partners plan to roll out cancer awareness creation and training of cancer caregivers to other counties in the country to take the message far and wide.