It costs up to KSh. 6000 to get key medical examinations such as blood sugar levels, cervical cancer screening, dental and eye checkups. That is besides the cost of medication or assistive devices that may be recommended following such examinations. Such amounts of money are often out of reach of many Kenyans, including university students. Yet, the youth band is faced with many health challenges; many of which can blossom into deadly maladies, if not well managed.
It is for this reason that the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Student Association (JKUSA) organized a three-day health drive (October 17-19) to empower students with healthy living tips while offering essential tests and checkups.
The event which was actualized through the Association’s Health, Catering and Accommodation (HCA) docket brought on board a number of corporates that offered free services to students and discounted rates-where further management was necessary.
HCA Secretary Clare Wahome said the initiative was a response to students’ health needs and a demonstration of the veracity of the Association.
“Healthcare is critical as many youths are troubled with a number of diseases and conditions yet consultation fees remain quite high. We have managed to bring in partners who are providing free services to the students,” Clare said.
Aga Khan University Hospital, Cambridge Opticians, Mac Dental Health, AIDS Health Foundation and Ryculture are the organizations that partnered with JKUSA to stage the health drive.
Moses Ngugi from the Aga Khan University Hospital said the team had offered cancer screening to over 600 students.
“Many of the cancers can be managed if detected early. That is the reason who have come to offer free screening for the students,” Moses said.
Diana Muthoni who studies strategic management at JKUAT lauded the initiative saying she had learned much about sexual reproductive health besides knowing about her blood sugar levels.
Another student, Catherine Kabura, described the facilitators of the drive as professional and friendly. She added that she had picked vital lessons on exercising and water drinking that would form part of her life in the future.
David Odhiambo, a final year pharmacy student who is affiliated to Ryculture said health advocacy remained weak yet emerging concerns such as depression and stigmatization of those living with certain conditions were becoming rife in learning institutions.