Life-changing surgery has been music to the ears of hundreds of patients who had suffered in silence for many years

Meet Abdul Kaka, the chairman of Football Kenya Federation, Laikipia County.

Kaka lives in Nanyuki town with his wife, three daughters and a son. For a long time, he had a nasty ear infection that refused to go away.

“I didn’t know my ear problem needed urgent medical attention. I used to buy ear drops from the local chemist but the problem persisted,” says Kaka.

It started off with some discharge that went on for two years, and when the ear drops seemed ineffective, Kaka would stuff cotton wool in his ears.

“I was ashamed especially when I had to go for important meetings. It was a very difficult time in my life.”

Three years ago, things took a turn for the better; Kaka learnt of Safaricom Foundation’s Operation Ear Drop from a local clinical officer who encouraged him to seek help.

“Thanks to the Foundation, I was operated on and recovered fully. Now I am able to enjoy some quality time with my family and engage in activities that I could not before. I can also go for meetings without worrying about people staring at me,” says Kaka.

“I was ashamed especially when i had to go for important meetings. It w as a very difficult time in my life.”

Dr David Njoroge, an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon, has operated on many patients like Kaka. He is a private practitioner in Nanyuki town but volunteers at Nanyuki Hospital where he transformed Kaka and many other people’s lives.

“In 2016, I was part of the medical team that participated in Safaricom Foundation’s medical camps. We have successfully operated on an average of 38 patients in each of the five medical camps making a total of 190 patients who were treated and their hearing improved,” says Dr Njoroge.

Paul Kariuki is another beneficiary of the programme. Like Kaka, he found out about the programme through the ENT Clinical Officer. “My ear problem started a long time ago when I was in primary school. I had a discharge from both ears until I decided to seek medical attention when I was much older in 2014,” explains Kariuki.

He says that his left ear was operated on first to see if it was repairable.

“I did the operation in secret because my family did not approve of me going under the knife. Once the operation was done, I called them into the ward and they were happy to see that I was doing much better.”

ENT Clinical Officer Lucy Nasieku says that before the surgery, Kariuki’s hearing ability was almost lost. “Now he is doing much better,” she says.

Kariuki, a shoe shiner, is a widower with two children. He says that were it not for Safaricom Foundation’s support, he would not have received the treatment because it was very expensive. Dr Njoroge says that most patients who come seeking help for ear treatment are financially unable to foot the bill.

Dr Njoroge decried the shortage of ENT specialists and clinical officers, lack of modern medical equipment and even cases of misdiagnosis which he says are high.

“By setting up medical camps, we have since seen a significant improvement because we bring on board specialists and provide equipment. This has seen the number of misdiagnosis go down,” the doctor says.

He adds that the medical camps have transformed lives of people who have lived with ear problems for long.

“I remember there was a teacher who came to me with a chronic ear infection that damaged the eardrum leading to hearing loss. We did the operation and repaired the eardrum and now she can hear and the chronic infections have disappeared.”

“We are grateful to Safaricom Foundation for the programme as more people are getting the help they need,” said Dr Njoroge.

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