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VIDEO: Why Minister wants Female Genital “elongation” in schools stopped [Adult content]



The minister for Gender and Culture has warned school matrons against initiating young girls into genital elongation.
Ms Peace Mutuuzo says the government will find avenues of talking to girls, especially in primary schools, how to report the perpetrators for encouraging a practice that does not add value to their health.
“We shall target matrons in primary boarding schools.

You are preparing our girls who are not yet ready for marriage and may get partners who do not care about that (genital elongation),” Ms Mutuuzo said while addressing journalist in Kampala.

Pulling as it’s popularly known, is a tradition common in central and southern parts of Uganda and Rwanda, which basically involves the elongation of the labia minora on the female private parts by girls and women.
The practice is widely criticised by the west for allegedly being outdated and barbaric. Watch Courtesy of VOA Swahili:

Ms Mutuuzo hinted on the vice while addressing journalists about the forthcoming International Day for Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation scheduled on February 6.

She said her ministry needs an increase in the budgetary allocation from the current Shs200 million to Shs1.2 billion to help fight female genital mutilation which is predominant in Sebei sub region in eastern Uganda.
The money is to, among other things, help in community sensitisation, strengthen male engagement, establish shelters for FGM victims and engage more elders in the fight against the practice.
Uganda has four types of FGM; some of which are irreversible while others have resulted into death due to over bleeding by the victims.
The types of FGM practised in Uganda, according to government, are; clitoridectomy, excision (practised by the Sabiny), infibulation or pharaonic (practised by the Pokot) and other types- mainly genital elongation practiced by Bantu speaking people, especially in central Uganda.

Ms Mutuuzo said Uganda is experiencing an emerging trend of medicalisation since some believe that the cutting is less painful when done by a medical personnel.
She believes this has been encouraged by the educated Ugandans who should have been in the centre of the fight against the practice.
“The young people have utilised social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook, to openly campaign for preservation of FGM, as an important practice of the Sabiny culture using the slogan “Our culture, our Identity” Ms Mutuuzo said.
The minister said government was aware of the WhatsApp groups created to aid the outlawed vice and are planning on how to track down the members for prosecution.
Uganda enacted the Prohibition of FGM Act 2010 to eliminate the practice but it has persisted due to cultural beliefs one of which is enhancement to please men during sex.

According to UNFPA country representative, Mr Alaine Sibenaler, cultural practices are very difficult to eradicate.
“But should not be used as an excuse to abuse human rights,” he said.
He said there should be dialogue between the young people and their parents so that they understand the dangers of FGM to have concerted efforts in fighting the practice in this generation.

Ministry of Gender reports indicate that between November 2018 and January 2019, about 350 girls underwent FGM in Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo districts.
Globally, it is estimated that approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women have undergone some form of genital mutilation or cutting.
Health experts say cutting has far reaching health effects including severe bleeding which may lead to death, permanent scars that may block the birth canal, obstetric fistula, urine incontinence, permanent disability, depression, trauma, feelings of disgust, loss of libido, among others.
In 2012, the UN General assembly designated February 6 as the international day of zero tolerance of FGM. The theme for 2020 is “Unleashing Youth Power”, One decade of accelerating actions for zero Female Genital Mutilation by 2030.

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Story of Coronavirus patient who recovered raises many questions among Kenyans



Wednesday, April 1, would have passed as any ordinary day were it not for an unusual live broadcast.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was having a video conference meeting the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Health, Mutahi Kagwe, who was in the company of two individuals that had recovered from coronavirus.

The two were; Brenda Ivy Cherotich, now popularly known as Kenya’s first coronavirus patient and Brian Orinda, patient number three – who contracted the virus from Brenda.  On March 13, Kenya joined a growing list of countries around the world that have confirmed cases of coronavirus.

After the health CS made the announcement, life in Kenya changed – literally. In three weeks, the country has recorded 81 cases and one death. Kenyans are now strictly observing a 7pm to 5am curfew as part of the many measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

Patient zero goes public 

Following her going public, Brenda – patient zero – captured the attention of the entire country. In the interview, she confirmed that indeed she had the virus, explained where she could have possibly caught it, and revealed that she has now fully recovered from the virus.Clad in a red top and cream pants, Brenda looked bubbly as she gave a captivating narration of her experience with coronavirus.

With her was Brian. He came across as quiet – almost timid – judging by how he slouched on the chair during the video conference.


After her virtual meeting with Uhuru and media interviews in various stations, Brenda has now become an overnight sensation and a hot subject for trolls on the internet. She has been trending on Twitter for most of the day.Why Brenda has raised a stormStandard Digital has gone through several interviews Brenda has given after she came out in public to share her experience.

These are the questions Kenyans are asking:

How many days was Brenda in quarantine?

In the telecom with Uhuru, Brenda said she had been in quarantine for 23 days. During her interview at NTV, she said she was in quarantine for 22 days. “I’ve been in quarantine for 22 days now,” she said.

The difference between the date of recovery and confirmation of the first case is 20 days. So, where did the 23 days come from?

We do however acknowledge that Brenda said upon return to Nairobi, she developed a cough and a fever for three days. “I decided to give myself one day to see how my body would respond”.So, how many days was Brenda in quarantine?

Mbagathi Hospital or Kenyatta National Hospital?

After a now-famous virtual meeting with Kenyatta, Brenda said after exhibiting cough and fever, she took herself to hospital after calls to the Health Ministry toll number went unanswered. In her testimonial, Brenda said she went to Mbagathi hospital, where she was eventually put on quarantine.

She also told NTV’s Dennis Okari that she called Mbagathi hospital and the toll free numbers, which went unanswered.“Okari: Did they pick you from the house? Brenda: The calls to Mbagathi hospital did not go through, that’s when I decide to take a cab and go there myself.”However, in an interview on Citizen TV on Wednesday night, Brenda thanked nurses and staff at the Kenyatta National Hospital for helping her to pull through the quarantine period.

So, where was Brenda quarantined?

How does Brian fit into Brenda’s story?

Brian Orinda, the third patient to recover from the coronavirus said he contracted the virus from Brenda.“I got the disease through contact with Brenda. Immediately her results were out, the authorities came for me. When I tested positive, they embarked on my treatment,” he said during the video conference with Uhuru.In an interesting twist, Brenda denies knowing Brian prior to contracting the coronavirus.

When asked who Brian was, she responded that she came to know him when he was brought into the isolation ward at Mbagathi hospital.Minutes later, she contradicts herself by saying Brian was one of the people who had been at her house in Rongai, after her return from the US.Brenda had also earlier said that after she experienced a mild cough and fever three days after her return, she made a few calls to her friends who had been to her house.So, how did Brenda infect Brian?

How old is Brenda?

While announcing the news of Kenya’s first confirmed positive case, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said, “the case is a Kenyan citizen who travelled back to Nairobi returning from the United States of America via London, United Kingdom on March 5, 2020.

She was confirmed positive by the National Influenza Centre Laboratory at the National Public Health Laboratories of the Ministry of Health. The patient is clinically stable, and is being managed at the Infectious Diseases Unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital.”

Kagwe said the patient was a 27-year-old woman.Brenda says she is 26-year-old.“I got it from the media when it was announced…that’s when someone called and said, Ivy, I think that is you,” she told NTV’s Dennis Okari.

Regarding her age, she said, “the media actually said I was 27-year-old, then I was like no, but I’m 26 years old… But I connected the dots.”Age is just a number. 26 or 27 is certainly a big deal for a woman. We get you Brenda!

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How a slight headache sparked Covid-19 fears and rush to hospital during curfew



A sudden illness on Tuesday night transformed me from a storyteller to being the story.

It started with my friend developing joint aches, which escalated to a serious headache. My suggestion that we seek medical attention was dismissed outright.

As the situation deteriorated, the nightmare began. Could it be Covid- 19? I didn’t want to contemplate.

Since I was the ‘healthy’ one, I had to calm the fraying nerves. “No, you don’t have corona. I think it’s just a normal fever,” I declared, although from the laughter that greeted my declaration, it was clear my attempt at raising optimism had failed.

Then came another problem: It was past 7pm and the dusk-to-dawn curfew was in effect. I started mental mapping of the nearest hospital accessible from Imara Daima. My best bet was South B or Nairobi West. In the worst case scenario, I could try Nairobi Hospital, Coptic or Aga Khan. My patient was showing alarming signs of weakness.

I took the matter into my hands. I called my place of work, asked for the staff clinic and found a cheery gentleman on the line. I explained the nature of emergency facing me and the man was very sympathetic.

Unfortunately, he could not send an ambulance. He advised me to carry my staff identity card on my way to the hospital and call him if I ran into the police. He would talk to them.

He assured me that the police were under orders to treat such cases sympathetically.

Now, if there’s one lesson my 30 years of practising journalism has taught me, it’s this; orders tend to disappear somewhere along the chain of command and the officer on the beat is usually free to use their discretion, nearly always with disastrous outcomes for those they come into contact with.

I had the option of using my press card but this would have involved a bit of inveigling in explaining the case of my patient, who was stretched out on the back seat. We said a short prayer and hit the road.

Crash statistics

The Nairobi I saw on Tuesday night was totally different from the city I have known since my early teenage years.

Easing into Mombasa Road felt like driving in another planet.

The road is normally busy at this time of the night with workers heading back home, taxis racing their fares to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to catch flights while, in the air, the huge planes approaching for landing normally fly so low you almost see those on board.

Not on this night. The road was deserted and, for a moment or two, I was transported to the pages of the popular Christian fiction books Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins, which describe life on earth after the rapture promised by the Bible has taken place.

As I approached the Kenya Railways bridge, just before General Motors, I saw a traffic policeman stopping a G4S van. My patient murmured a quiet and fast prayer that we wouldn’t be stopped.

The prayers worked and I once again had the entire road all to myself. I fought the temptation to gun down the car because, although my patient would not admit it, I knew the situation was getting worse. I remembered road crash statistics and was grimly reminded that accidents had caused more deaths on our roads than headaches.

I took the turn into South B and was greeted by more shock. You see, the area stretching from South B through South C and to Nairobi West has been my stomping ground and is one corner of our globe that rarely goes to sleep, not this early. Driving into Mariakani Cottage Hospital, I found a group of friendly watchmen who were more than willing to direct me to the parking.

We ambled into the casualty and found the place empty. A friendly nurse took us through the paces of registration and directing my patient to the doctor.

Favourable result

The dreaded moment was finally here. What the doctor would find out had the potential of changing both our lives in ways we couldn’t even imagine: If he had recommended the patient for a Covid-19 test based on the lab analysis, mandatory quarantine would follow.

Since I had been the one handling the patient, the same fate awaited me.

Subconsciously, I replayed the figures Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe had been doling out in his briefings. My mind wandered to Italy, Spain, the US and the other places the virus had ravaged.

With massive

effort, I blocked out such thoughts and focused on getting favourable results.

As I sat there, a man walked in with his daughter who looked seriously ill.

From their dusty feet, it was evident that they had done some serious hoofing before getting to the hospital.

My patient came out with a smile that could light up a Christmas tree. It was an all-clear from the doctor. Turns out it was a case of bacterial infection.

There was no need for further tests. We hugged and back-slapped one another.

I don’t think a bacterial infection had ever been celebrated that much since God created the earth.

The trip back home was easier and faster. Just as we had made a pact with God as we left home, we said a prayer of thanksgiving; thanking God for having the means of getting to hospital, for medical facilities that are near, doctors and nurses to man them and even the ability to pay for the services offered.

We also remembered to pray for the nameless man we had left at the reception waiting to hear from the doctor on the fate of his daughter.

Joseph Mboya is a Nairobi-based journalist


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Coronavirus: Kenya’s patient zero speaks to Uhuru Kenyatta



Kenya’s first coronavirus patient, Brenda, has spoken about her experience for the first time since recovery.

In a video conference with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, an elated Brenda and Brian told of the  23-day quarantine period at Mbagathi Hospital and how they managed to pull through.

Brenda says that she first arrived in Texas, USA on December 19, 2019, then proceeded to Cleveland, Ohio, finally making a stop in London, United Kingdom.

“I suspect I may have contracted the virus in London,” she said.

Upon return, she said that she coughed for three days. “I decided to give myself one day to see how my body would respond”.

However, as things were not improving, she did the rightful thing and presented herself at Mbagathi hospital in Nairobi.

“I had seen from the news while in the US that there was an isolation ward at Mbagathi so I took myself there.”

Brenda is grateful for the manner in which staff at the hospital responded to her, saying they took her case seriously and put under immediate quarantine for 23 days.

“I want everyone to know that this is something that can be managed. It is treatable,” she added.

President Uhuru praised Brenda for her courage in recognising that she had a responsibility not just to herself but to the country too.

“Immediately upon her arrival, Brenda took it upon herself, that she potentially had the risk to harm others around her, to go to hospital,” President Uhuru said.By doing so, the government was able to confirm and trace others she had come into contact with. “You are a very brave person Brenda and we celebrate you,” he added.

However, the president castigated other Covid-19 patients who did not take the necessary measures once they showed symptoms of the disease putting the lives of others at risk.“Let us report our symptoms. Let us stay away. Let’s isolate ourselves and let’s be treated because it is treatable,” the president urged  Kenyans.

President Uhuru said that it was important for Kenyans to follow the set guidelines both by the Health Ministry and World Health Organisation (WHO) to curb the spread of the virus.“As circumstances dictate, the government may be forced to take even more precautionary measures.

”The president now wants to meet both Brenda and Brian (who contracted the virus communicably) to show Kenyans that we can overcome if we fight it together.Kenya reported its first coronavirus case on March 13, becoming the eleventh country in sub-Saharan Africa and the first in Eastern Africa and to register a positive case.According to the Mutahi Kagwe-led ministry, the patient, a Kenyan, had travelled from the US via London, United Kingdom on March 5.

The 27-year-old was confirmed positive by the National Influenza Centre Laboratory at the National Public Health Laboratories of the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry reported that the patient was stable and was being treated at Kenyatta National Hospital until she would be confirmed negative.Tracing of persons who came into contact with her kicked off almost immediately.


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