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American doctor trains Nakuru nurses to manage respiratory defects in babies

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As she steps into the ultra-modern Margaret Kenyatta Mother Baby Wing at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital, Dr Nora Switchenko could easily pass for a foreign visitor who is in the facility to donate gifts to newly born babies.

The American doctor warmly exchanges pleasantries with patients, subordinate staff and nurses at the hospital.

But Dr Switchenko is not an average visitor at the referral hospital that delivers more than 1,200 babies monthly.

The 35-year-old is a neonatal paediatrician from Uttah State the US.

“I am here to train nurses on a special technology dubbed bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) to improve the care of newly born babies with respiratory problems,” says Dr Switchenko.

The bubble CPAP delivery system is a non-invasive ventilation strategy for newborns with infant respiratory distress syndrome.

It is one of the methods by which continuous positive airway pressure is delivered to a spontaneously breathing newborn to maintain lung volumes during respiration.

Dr Switchenko says that babies with respiratory problems are born with underdeveloped lungs and the CPAP device helps them keep their lungs open for delivery of oxygen.

Her training is paying dividends as the new device is increasingly becoming the life-saving machine that nurses use to resuscitate babies with respiratory disorders.

The new system offers safe, efficient and cost-effective treatment of respiratory difficulties in neonates. Mothers can now walk home smiling as they cuddle their babies.

“Underweight babies are coping well, thanks to the CPAP technology,” she explained.

The youthful doctor who works at the Intensive Care Unit back at home is now a symbol of hope to many mothers who deliver underweight babies with respiratory distress.

Dr Switchenko knows how it feels to see a baby on CPAP machine since her first born daughter weighed 1.2 kilograms and was put on CPAP machine.

“I know what mothers go through. I was terrified when I gave birth to an underweight baby. She had tubes wrapped around her face while some were sticking out of her tummy,” said Dr Switchenko.

“The baby brings immense joy to me. She inspires me to make that possible for all underweight babies to grow healthy,” she added.

Dr Switchenko has put in 10 years in medical studies.

She studied for four years at Oregon Health Science University and did three years as residence paediatrician before taking a three-year specialised training in neonatology at University of Uttah.

“I can’t imagine of a better patient than a baby, I enjoy taking care of the babies because I want to give them the best start in life journey,” said Dr Switchenko.

She says working as neonatal paediatrician has made her the best person she can ever imagine in the field of medicine.

She describes the nurses in Nakuru as spectacular as they are easily identifying babies that need help.

“The nurses here have developed a hawk-eye, identifying babies who need special attention immediately after birth. They are doing a great job, their resilience is amazing,” said Dr Switchenko.

Ms Wilder Juma, a nurse at new born unit, says she has learnt a lot from Dr Switchenko.

“She has taught me how to handle the machine and this is knowledge that I did not get at the nursing school,” she said.

Ms Catherine Ngina says she has mastered the use of CPAP machine.

“I can handle a baby with respiratory problems. I know it is possible to save that life with the CPAP machine,” said Ms Ngina.

Ms Peris Mwangi said that the training comes at a time when the hospital is witnessing an increased number of expectant mothers from neighbouring counties.

“I am now well prepared to handle babies with respiratory challenges,” said Ms Mwangi.

 Dr Switchenko says the workload is quite enormous.

“The spirit of never giving up to save life of tiny babies by these wonderful and hardworking nurses is something that keeps me going,” she added.

She says her mission is to ensure the nurses grasp the operation of CPAP and help babies thrive while on the machine.

She says some of the most rewarding aspects working as a neonatal paediatrician is helping a baby overcome breathing distress.

“When the mother takes over the baby from the CPAP machine and leaves the hospital smiling, that makes me happy,” she said.

However, like any medical field, she has encountered challenges.

“One of the biggest challenge is to come to work with the same spirit and hope and continue making the system better when a baby dies.

She says when the pain of managing a sick baby is overwhelming, she relies on the great team of nurses she works with.

“The people who work in new born unit become a family and support each other in hard times,” she says.

She says her most memorable moment working in Nakuru is when she sees nurses embrace the CPAP technology.

“I am proud to be part of the team that has made this technology work in Nakuru.”

She advises students who are interested in becoming neonatologists to prepare well.

“They must be ready to work hard and examine as many babies as possible when they are in new born unit,” she added.

She says a better doctor understands the team he or she is work with. She says to improve health services in Kenya, more nurses and doctors must be employed.

“The successful treatment of a patient is not a one-man show, it is a collective responsibility of the entire team,” she concludes.

By nation.co.ke


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Lifestyle

Man who died inside city matatu did not succumb to Covid-19

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The man who died in a matatu along Mombasa road on Tuesday was not killed by Covid-19 as it was initially feared, the Nation has learnt.

Tests on samples taken from the man, who has been identified as Leonard Odhiambo, 57, turned negative for coronavirus.

City Mortuary deputy funeral superintendent Patrick Mbugua, however, said a post-mortem had not been done to determine the cause of death.

“The man was brought to the mortuary and the Covid-19 test came back negative. We suspect he died of blood pressure issues owing to the sudden manner of his death. However, we are still waiting for the post-mortem results. It was not Covid-19,” Mr Mbugua said on Thursday.

On Tuesday at around 7.30am, the matatu had left the ambassador bus stop in the city centre and was picking passengers along the way on its route to Embakasi.

Before 8am, Mr Odhiambo boarded the Embassava Sacco 14-seater matatu popularly known as Manchester at the South B bus stop as he was headed to Embakasi.

He sat on a seat at the row behind the driver’s cabin next to the passenger door. The row has three seats, but owing to Covid-19 regulations, it only had two passengers.

Slightly past Panari Hotel, at an area called Lab, the passenger seated next to Mr Odhiambo wanted to alight. As usual, the passenger next to the door is expected to alight to pave way for the other passengers to get off.

Mr Odhiambo did not move. Thinking he was asleep, the conductor tapped his shoulder. Nothing happened. With a strong nudge, the man is said to have heaved, coughed out aloud and slumped on his seat. It is suspected he breathed his last at this point.

His family went to the morgue on Wednesday evening but did not pick their departed one as they still await the post-mortem results.

by Nation.africa


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Lifestyle

Was soldier’s macabre murder premeditated?

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The gruesome murder of Lazarus Mwangi, 25, a junior soldier, seems to have been well- planned and executed.

Mwangi’s body was mutilated, eyes gouged, all limbs and hands broken. His body was found dumped at Masinga Dam in Machakos on November 22.

On November 14, Mwangi left his residence at Kahawa Barracks in Kiambu county after informing his seniors he was going to pick a parcel he had been sent from Mariakani Barracks in Kilifi.

That was the last time he was seen alive.

Mwangi had been initially posted to Mariakani Barracks in 2016 before his mysterious transfer to Kahawa Barracks in December 2019.

His transfer had, however, raised eyebrows because it is rare for a junior soldier of his rank to be transferred within that time frame.

Yesterday, a senior army official told People Daily that transfers rarely happen, especially with young and inexperienced soldiers.

“If a young soldier has been transferred, such a move can only be considered when he has specialised on a specific field and his expertise are required elsewhere. That is when a transfer can occur,” the officer who sought anonymity said. The deceased is said to have informed his wife, Ms Doris Muhoro, that he had gone to pick a parcel. On the fateful night, Muhoro tried several times to reach her husband but the calls went unanswered. She fell asleep.

However, during the night, Muhoro’s phone was called eight times by a private number at around 3am but she never answered because she was dead asleep and could not hear it ringing.

In Dagoretti, Nairobi the same night at 3am, Ms Jackline Wangeci, Mwangi’s sister, also received a call from a private number.

The caller who said that he was calling from Gilgil in Nakuru informed her that her brother had been kidnapped.

Same day
On November 15, Mwangi’s family shared what had transpired that night and efforts to trace him started the same day.

The deceased kin reported the matter at Kikuyu Police Station where both Ms Muhoro and Ms Wangeci recorded statements on what had transpired since the disappearance of Mwangi.

A detective privy to the investigations, and who spoke to People Daily on condition of anonymity said Mwangi’s phone Global Positioning System (GPS) history was traced to Muthurwa in Nairobi.

The detective further said that already, a woman had been arrested in connection with Mwangi’s death after sleuths attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations traced the people who called him on the day he disappeared.

“The people who called his sister saying they were calling from Gilgil were traced to Kamukunji. Already some arrests have been made,” the sleuth said.

Detectives have also obtained a series of chats between his brother based in South Sudan and an investigating officer. “They killed him after kidnapping him. We believe it was a bait. There was nothing like a parcel he was supposed to pick,” the brother said.

Masinga Police boss Francis Siror confirmed that residents recovered a badly mutilated body and informed them.

Consequently, the police informed the family who picked and transferred it to Thika Teaching and Referral Hospital Mortuary.

An autopsy conducted yesterday established that Mwangi was strangled to death.

by PD.co.ke


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Shock as woman chops off one-year-old son’s private parts

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A one-year-old boy is nursing serious injuries at the Kijabe Mission Hospital where he was admitted after his private parts were allegedly chopped off by his mother.

The boy’s aunt told the Nation that his mother, Winnie Mutheu, fled after committing the act on Thursday.

The aunt explained that as the boy’s father prepared to leave for work that morning, he heard loud, persistent cries from his son and got concerned.

“He asked his wife why their son was crying and she answered that the boy had broken his leg while playing with other children outside the house. My brother then decided to examine his son, only to find no injuries on either of his legs.”

“He went on to remove his son’s clothes and discovered that he had been physically abused,” the aunt said.

Gone into hiding

The couple has lived together for five years and are blessed with two children. There were no reports of conflict between the two when the boy was assaulted.

“The child is still in hospital in critical condition,” the aunt said.

Tigoni Sub County Police Commander Mwaniki Ireri said a manhunt for the woman has been launched.

“The case was officially reported yesterday by the boy’s father. We are pursuing the mother, and we are confident that we shall find her,” said Mr Ireri.

Efforts to get a comment from Kijabe hospital were futile as our calls and text messages went unanswered.

Bizarre as it may sound, cases of women chopping off their sons’ private parts are not new. In May 2018, a Chinese woman cut off her son’s penis just to get back at her husband’s family.

The boy’s manhood was saved by a quick phalloplasty surgery (penis reconstruction operation).

by nation.africa


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