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Death, pain as Hepatitis B wracks Kerio Valley

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He sat pensively on a stone holding a picture of his deceased son, tears flowing as he narrates how he spent all he had to save his life from the deadly Hepatitis B disease, which has claimed 50 lives in the vast Kerio Valley.

Meet Kiptai Abeta, 69, from the remote Tekechuch village in Kerio Valley in Baringo North, who is yet to come to terms with the demise of his third son, who died of the deadly disease in February after suffering for more than 10 years.

His elder son, Kipkemoi Kiptai, also died of the disease 10 years ago.

The latest victim, 32, died five months ago at the Baringo County Referral hospital in Kabarnet after being discharged from the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret where he had been hospitalised for more than four months.

“I have now been reduced to a pauper after spending all I had on the medication of my two sons who have since died of Hepatitis B. I sold all my livestock thinking that they would survive only for them to die,” Mr Abeta narrated.

According to the old man, he sold more than 12 cows to cater for his son’s medication in different hospitals after his health started to deteriorate in 2017.

“He had been complaining of persistent headache, chest pain and general weakness since 2008. This prompted us to take him to Kabarnet hospital where he was treated of pneumonia and released,” he said.

He explained that his situation worsened in 2017 forcing them to take him to Kabarnet again but this time he was referred to MTRH for specialised treatment. That is when he underwent several blood tests and it emerged that he was suffering from Hepatitis B.

“I was shocked of the revelation, taking into consideration that I had lost my other son to the disease years ago after spending more than Sh600,000 on his medication. He spent another four months at the facility and we were told to take him a hospital nearer home to recuperate. We brought him back to Kabarnet where he stayed shortly before he died,” said Mr Abeta.

He had to seek the assistance of his friends and neighbours after his medical bill at MTRH accumulated to more than Sh800,000.

He added: “He left behind a very young family; a wife and two children, whom I have also been tasked to look after. We are living from hand to mouth,” said the old man.

When the Nation team visited the family on Thursday, we established that none of them had been vaccinated except for his son’s widow.

The deceased’s fresh grave could be seen 10 metres from his two mud-walled houses.

Sote Cherop, 70, a relative, raised concern over the lack of vaccination against the killer disease despite handling many Hepatitis patients over the years.

“We are now living in fear because we do not know if we are safe from the disease. We have so far lost two relatives whom we were handling when they were sick but we are yet to be tested and vaccinated against it. We are just living at the mercies of God,” said the distraught Ms Cherop.

At the neighbouring Chemintany village approximately 10 kilometres away, Samuel Kiptala, 63, had also suffered a big blow after losing three of his children to the disease. Two others have since tested positive and are still undergoing treatment.

His three children, Abraham Boit, Elijah Chemweno and Rhoda Chemweno Kakuko died in 2009, 2015 and 2019 respectively.

According to medical cards produced from the various hospitals attended by the deceased, tests on the three showed that they were suffering from Hepatitis B.

The latest death occurred on February 25, where he lost his daughter Rhoda to the killer disease.

In a burial programme dated March 4, seen by the Nation, Rhoda succumbed to her illness at Milimani Crystal Cottage Hospital where she had been admitted.

The two graves of Abraham Boit who died in 2009 and Elijah Chemweno who died in 2015 are spread a metre apart in the family homestead.

“The memories I have of my two sons are the children they left behind. We have been left poor after we spent most of our funds on their medication which is too expensive,” said Mr Kiptala.

He spent Sh100,000 on the late Boit’s treatment at MTRH in 2009 and more than Sh250,000 on the late Chemweno’s medication in 2015.

After losing his children, he relocated to his Kinyach farm, more than 8km away where he lives alone so that he doesn’t endure the pain of seeing his sons’ graves every day.

Approximately 500 metres away, Ms Florence Komen sat desolately on a hide skin in her compound after a hard day’s farm work. Two graves of Darius Bartuiyot, her son and Samuel Komen, her husband lay 10 metres apart at Kapkimuny village.

Bartuiyot, 34, served at the Kodiaga Prison in Kisumu as a warder and was the family’s sole breadwinner.

He died in August last year of Hepatitis B, a year after his father died of the same disease.

According to Ms Komen, when her husband ailed in 2017, they suspected that he had been suffering from Kalaazar, another common disease in the area because he had a swollen stomach. But when his condition worsened, and he was taken to Baringo County Referral Hospital, he tested positive for Hepatitis B.

Locals in the area said most of them had not been tested for the killer disease, despite the region being one of the hotspot areas.

A resident, Maxine Kigen, said that a screening and vaccination programme rolled out by the county government in February was targeting only those who had been vaccinated earlier and contact persons.

“Only a few people were tested and vaccinated in February at Kinyach dispensary but the vaccines got depleted. We have to go all the way to Kabarnet, more than 60 kilometres away to get it, and one is not sure of getting it anyway,” said Ms Kigen.

A tour at Kinyach dispensary revealed that the nurse deployed there had closed shop because there were no drugs, including pain killers.

Samuel Kimosop, the dispensary chairman, said that common drugs have not been available for the past one month and locals were forced to seek medication in Ayatya and Arror in Elgeyo Marakwet.

“We have no test kits and vaccines for Hepatitis B here despite being the most hit area. Even drugs like painkillers got depleted a month ago,” said Mr Kimosop.

Kinyach Location chief Wilson Lokobwa said the hardest hit areas are Kinyach, Kobot, Chemintany, Songoiwo, Kalabata and Tukechuch villages.

He said that out of the 100 people tested for Hepatitis in the area in February, more than 60 turned positive and are yet to receive any treatment.

“Most people who have lost their kin are yet to be tested leave alone getting the vaccine. Those ailing are also stigmatised knowing they will just die,” said Mr Lokobwa.

Another victim, Elizabeth Kigen, 72, from Koisarat village, said that she went into depression a year ago after she tested positive for the disease.

“What astonished me most was when I sought medication in Marigat sub-county hospital, I was ushered into a room where HIV patients were being given ARVs. I protested and demanded that the medic tells me if I was suffering from Hepatitis or HIV but no one listened,” said Ms Kigen.

According to Loboi location chief Festus Kiptisia, more than 20 people have lost their lives due to the endemic disease in his area since 2015.

At Loboi dispensary, a medic said that the test kits and vaccines got depleted a month ago after they were overwhelmed by many people who were referred from Marigat sub-county hospital.

Locals in Majimoto, one of the worst hit areas in Baringo South said four people have died in the area in the last one year.

According to Baringo county epidemiologist Robert Rono, there is no data of those that had died of the disease and those that had tested positive for the disease.

“We have, however, carried vaccination in all the hotspot areas in Kerio Valley and Baringo South and it is still ongoing. We also vaccinated all the prisoners at Kabarnet prison and their staff and families as well. We are, however, not doing mass vaccination but only the contact persons,” said Mr Rono.

This is, however, contrary to what we observed because all the dispensaries in the affected areas have no test kits or vaccines. “The drugs are not administered at the dispensaries because they have to be given by a doctor after undergoing some tests. These are only found in sub-county hospitals,” he said.

Source:nation.co.ke

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Business

Student sues Equity Bank over song

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A university student who claims to have composed a popular song used by Equity Bank to promote its business has gone to court over a Sh10 million pledge, among other constitutional and fundamental reliefs.

Eric Obiero Nyadida, who was prosecuted at the instigation of the lender for forgery alongside his brother Geoffrey Nyadida Odongo then acquitted in October 2017 for lack of evidence, has urged the High Court to prohibit the bank from using the song to advertise its Wings to Fly education sponsorship project for bright but needy children.

Testifying before Justice Wilfrida Okwany, Mr Obiero said his rights were violated when he was locked up in a police cell with adults when he was 16.

He says he was denied his legal rights and access to his parents while in detention at Kileleshwa Police Station.

Mr Obiero, who is pursuing a Journalism course at a private university, told Justice Okwany over the last six years he has suffered mental anguish and violation of his property rights.

He said he was dragged through a criminal trial because he asked the bank to pay him Sh10 million as promised by senior officials of Equity Bank (Kenya) Limited and Equity Group Foundation (EGF) for using his song.

The petitioner says the lender has continued to use his work with no direct benefit going to him.

He is now asking the High Court to issue a conservatory order restraining EBL and EG) from using his piece of music in any of its advertisements on the internet, television, radio or any other media to popularise its EGF Wings to Fly project pending determination of the suit.

Mr Obiero is also seeking costs of the case. Hearing continues.

by nation.co.ke

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Diaspora

VIDEO: Lauren urgently needs help , seeks a kidney from someone who is either ‘A’ or ‘O’ type blood

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Lauren Fulford of Atlanta, Georgia, has been battling kidney failure for over 7 years and she’s running out of time! The situation is dire and only a transplant in the immediate future will save her life!

To learn more about the living donor process or to start testing, please contact Leanne Whitehead, RN, the Living Donor Coordinator at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta and reference Lauren Fulford. Leanne’s number is 404.605.4605. Lauren can receive a kidney from a donor with
A or O blood type.

Here the story as told herself.

MY STORY: ROUND 1

When I was 15 (1994), I was diagnosed with end stage-kidney failure due to immune-complex glomerulonephritis (in other words, my immune system attacked my kidneys and doctors were unable to determine why). Both kidneys I was born with had zero function at that point. Consequently, I was put on dialysis within four months of finding out I was sick.  I was fortunate enough to get a kidney transplant from my father at age 16.  Dad’s kidney got me through high school, college, and most of graduate school.

Watch the video below:

 

MY STORY: ROUND 2

Nine years after the transplant (at age 25), I learned that my body was rejecting the transplanted kidney.  Turns out that my anti-rejection medications were toxic to the kidney over time, and doctors should have switched me to newer medications…but didn’t.  I was once again back on dialysis.  Again, through the support of my wonderful family, I received a second transplant from my younger sister (my brother and other sister were tested but were not matches).  This time, I had multiple complications with the surgery and subsequent rejection episodes for the first six months.

Luren Fulford

Ultimately, my body accepted the kidney.

MY STORY: ROUND 3

Fast forward six years to 2010…I consistently was not feeling well.  I was very anemic, always tired, and thought I had along-lasting case of the flu.  After months of blood work and tests, I found out that I was yet again in the early stages of kidney failure and began dialysis for a third time.  My doctor informed me that a trend was recently discovered, indicating that transplant recipients who have received two kidneys from immediate family members were rejecting the second transplant after five to seven years (it was previously expected to last ten plus years).  In addition, when I was having surgery to remove an ovarian cyst, the doctor accidentally nicked the transplanted kidney, causing it to go into shock and it never fully recovered.  In 2012, the kidney was dead and had to be removed since it was making me sick.

WHAT’S GOING ON TODAY:

I am now 39 years old.  I have been on dialysis for over seven years and it has many challenging effects.  I have been told that I am “highly sensitized” (I have high antibody counts) due to having two previous transplants.

My doctors told me that I have less than a 10% chance of finding a kidney.  To prove them wrong, my friends and family started the testing process but no match has been found.  I’m hopeful that someone out there will be a match but time is running out.

START THE TESTING PROCESS

To start the donor testing process, contact Leanne Whitehead, RN, the Living Donor Coordinator at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta and reference Lauren Fulford.
Leanne’s number is 404.605.4605.

SPREAD THE WORD

Tell your friends and family and neighbors and Facebook friends and literally anyone you can think of about Lauren’s story – the more people that know, the more of a chance she has to find a donor and STAY ALIVE!

If you have additional questions, email LaurenNeedsAKidney@gmail.com

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Entertainment

Watch Vivian, hubby Sam West reveal the challenges they face as a blended family

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Singer Vivian and her hubby Sam West have opened up about their relationship and some of the challenges they face in their blended family.

The two while appearing in an interview with K24 news anchor, Betty Kyallo, said it was not an easy job raising their two kids gotten from previous relationships.

“One of the key things with blended families, you have to understand who you are. You are different species, it is not a normal family. Because one you are trying to connect with your partner as two individuals and now you also have other people as well. You have a child, she has a child and the two of them also have to integrate,” said Sam West.

The couple revealed that their biggest challenge was trying to find the best way to incorporate their different parenting skills and come up with one formula that works for the both of them.

“We have different ways in which we were used in bringing up our children differently, so that is also an issue because maybe there is something he will see maybe me and Natalie and he will be like why don’t you try this and it’s easy to take offence with that. And maybe I will do the same with him and Ty and it’s a girl and a boy, so also their behaviours are completely different,” said Vivian.

The Fell Me hit maker started dating Sam West who also doubles up as her manager sometime in 2017.

They later celebrated their traditional wedding in March 2018.

BY NN

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