In 2012, Edward suffered a stroke that left him with a permanent disability. Strokes occur when blood flow is obstructed to parts of the brain. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the biggest cause of stroke. Although strokes are a serious condition, they are treatable, and recovery is possible. Due to his stroke, Edward was let go from his teaching job at a private school. At the very moment when having a steady income was most critical, Edward and his family were thrown into financial insecurity.
Edward’s rehabilitation, including daily occupational therapy and physiotherapy, was long and expensive— even with health insurance — but he was fortunate to have a strong support network of family and friends. Edward has made close to a full recovery, but he still has limited mobility on his right side.
Today, Edward serves as the organizing secretary of the Stroke Association of Kenya—supporting other stroke patients and advancing measures for stroke prevention, such as education and hypertension screenings. Although he is a strong advocate for stroke survivors, he still experiences obstacles in seeking care. Getting from place to place is uniquely challenging, since Edward relies on the boda bodas– or motorcycles - in Nairobi. With only one strong hand to hold on, the risk of falling is very high, especially because taxi drivers often don’t notice that Edward needs extra time to get situated before they zoom off. The risks he faces when traveling make him hesitant to go to his appointments.
The barriers Edward faces are not unique. Millions of people like Edward are faced with heavy financial and transportation challenges because of preventable conditions that are linked to non-communicable diseases. And it’s not just those who suffer from NCDs that are affected. Edward’s two daughters, Precious and Nicole, were significantly impacted as well. When an unexpected health expense arises, families are often forced to make hard tradeoffs, such as choosing between buying medication or paying for a child’s school fees.
Help us stop the ripple effect of NCDs on families and communities.