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Parents in agony as mystery illness claims 17 children

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With the Covid-19 threatening the healthcare system, people in Mnarani, Kilifi, are worried about their children.  The situation has also left healthcare workers wondering what the problem could be.

A health worker told Sunday Standard that two county hospitals had received cases of children aged under five years with similar symptoms and what is even more worrying is they all died a few hours later.

More than 15 children have so far died.Opollo Zacharia, 27, one of the parents still grieving the death of his daughter, Justice Miriam Ndede who was just one-and-a-half years old said he is worried his two-month-old daughter might suffer the same fate.

“She fell sick for about 20 hours only,” he recalled. On the night of March 3, he said the girl developed difficulty in breathing, a fever, weakness and a dry mild cough, the tell-tale signs of pneumonia.

To the best of his knowledge, no one in the family had exhibited similar symptoms, neither had anyone travelled recently or were in contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19.

The girl was taken to a private facility in Kilifi and the attending healthcare worker said Opollo’s daughter was not the first child he had seen with difficulty in breathing.

He gave the child medication and later discharged them but this did not work.At 2am, they were back at the facility and she was admitted. The girl’s blood sugar levels were checked and everything was normal. She didn’t have malaria either.

“At 7am, I decided to get transferred to Malindi sub-County Hospital because we were not getting adequate attention at the facility,” he noted.

No malaria 

At the sub-County hospital, they were immediately admitted to the High Dependency Unit but baby Miriam died at 4pm.

Alfred Oyoma, 35, lost his eight-month-old daughter under similar circumstances. She had also been taken to a private facility in Malindi after she developed similar symptoms. She was later transferred to Kilifi Hospital.“She died in less than 24 hours later and the diagnosis, we were given was pneumonia,” Oyoma said.

Her medical records show that she had a two to four-day history of illness. She had started treatment which did not alleviate her symptoms.

By the time she was getting to Kilifi County Hospital, she was in shock as was confirmed by her blood tests. She did not have malaria either.“Over the last two weeks, we have seen children with similar presentations of sickness,” a healthcare worker who sought anonymity said.

At least three children had died a few minutes after getting to the hospital, he said. At least 15 other parents from Mnarani, Kilifi County have lost children at the two facilities in the county between March 3 and 22.

“We are wondering what’s happening,” another healthcare worker said. “We know certainly that it is pneumonia but we don’t know why it is happening now.”

Some of the issues that the healthcare workers are grappling with are whether a change in weather has anything to do with the sudden developments.“Or are parents running here having sought services from other facilities where their children were misdiagnosed?” he posed.

Out of fear of Covid-19, healthcare workers are also wondering whether parents are self-medicating for too long and delaying in seeking the appropriate healthcare services that could potentially save their children’s lives.

“We are puzzled, we don’t know whether there is something at the hospitals that is affecting these children and interfering with their treatment process,” said the health worker.

We reached out to Dr Neema Mturi, a paediatrician and the Head of Clinical Services at Kilifi County Hospital but she said indicated that she was not authorised to speak to the media. Kilifi Health CEC could not be reached.

By Standard


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Health

Coronavirus-burdened US warns its citizens against travel to Kenya

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The US government has issued a travel advisory to Kenya, citing an increased risk of contracting Covid-19, this despite the country being among those leading globally with the virus infections.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in an updated health notice on Wednesday warned American citizens against travelling to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.

CDC placed the four nations under Level 4 Alert, meaning there is a very high level of Covid-19 and all non-essential travel should be avoided.

“Travelers should avoid all travel to Kenya. Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19,” said CDC in a notice.

If one must travel to these countries, they must strictly adhere to the health protocols on Covid-19 including wearing masks and keeping six feet distance from other people, CDC added.

“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19,” stated the US health institute on its website.

“During travel, wear a mask, stay at least six feet from people who are not traveling with you, wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer, and watch your health for signs of illness.”

CDC further urged American travellers to get tested for Covid-19 one to three days before travel and only leave the country after receiving the results.

Those returning to the US must also undergo testing one to three days earlier and adhere to all Covid-19 regulations.

According to the CDC, a Level 3 Travel Health Notice is the highest risk level and means citizens should strive to avoid all non-essential travel.

A CDC Level 2 Travel Health Notice advises American citizens to practice enhanced precautions while a Level 1 Travel Health Notice advises Americans to practice usual precautions.

The warnings come as US reported its highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day on Wednesday with 3,157 new fatalities and more than 273,799 people having died due to the virus and more than 13.9 million infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

On Thursday, Kenya registered the highest recoveries on a single day after 11,324 patients were discharged in 24 hours bringing the total number of recoveries to 67,788 since April 1.

Similarly, 1,253 patients tested positive after 10,170 samples were analyzed in the same period.

Kenya’s caseload rose to 86,383 on Thursday out of 911,596 samples analyzed since March.

The Covid-19 death toll also rose to 1,500 after 16 more patients succumbed to the disease.

by NN


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Kericho man who woke up in mortuary dies

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The man who was taken to the mortuary at Kapkatet Sub County Hospital in Kericho County after being presumed dead, has breathed his last.

Peter Cheruiyot died while being transferred to Kericho County Referral Hospital in an ambulance on Thursday afternoon for specialised treatment.

He was transferred to the mortuary hours after his family rushed him to hospital after collapsing at his home.

Cheplanget Ward Representative Hezborn Tonui confirmed that the man had passed on.

“It is true. He has breathed his last while being transferred to Kericho for further treatment. I am at the homestead condoling with the family,” Mr Tonui told the Nation on telephone.

In an interview with the Nation on Thursday last week, Cheruiyot said it was a miracle he was still alive. He was confident that he would recover and join his family. But that did not come to pass.

 “I am happy to be alive…it is a miracle that I am breathing, talking and I can move my limbs and eat. This is the work of God,” the 32 year old Cheruiyot told the Nation in an interview on Thursday last week.

Cooling chamber

In what generated a lot of reaction in the South Rift region and beyond, the father of four cried out when a mortician attempted to cut an incision on his leg so as to insert preservatives on the body before it could be put in the cooling chamber.

“I felt an excruciating pain on the leg and screamed my lungs out. It is like I was being burned with a hot iron bar,” said Cheruiyot.

As we conducted the interview, relatives, villagers and curious members of the public jammed the male ward at the hospital to have a glimpse of the man who “rose from the dead”.

“I do not know what happened prior to my being dumped in the mortuary. The next thing I knew after screaming, which I was initially not sure if anyone heard me, is that I was being wheeled to the ward,” said the former matatu tout.

After screaming and catching the attention of the mortician, the patient passed out again and was rushed to the emergency ward where doctors resuscitated him before admission.

When he fainted at Keroncho village in Cheplanget on Tuesday last week, the patient was rushed to hospital by relatives.

At the hospital, he was allegedly left unattended by doctors and nurses at the casualty ward.

“How they (medics) arrived at the conclusion that I had died, leading to my transfer to the mortuary is a matter of conjecture,” said Cheruiyot adding that the fresh wound on the right upper part of the leg which was cut in the morgue was very painful.

Interestingly, despite looking frail and at times struggling to speak, he had a razor sharp memory as he could recognise relatives and friends by name.

Family members said that the man had been battling a terminal illness and had been in and out of various hospitals in the region.

Low immunity

Due to his low immunity, he has been admitted to some of the facilities for days for treatment according to medical records seen by the Nation.

“When he fainted at home, we used a Toyota Probox to rush him to hospital where doctors said he had passed on. We were shocked to be told later by the mortuary attendants that he was still alive,” Mr Kevin Kipkirui, the patient’s younger brother, told journalists at the hospital.

Dr Gilbert Cheruiyot, the Medical Superintendent at Kapkatet Sub County Hospital said last week that the patient was taken to the mortuary by his relatives.

“In a breach of protocol, the family members rushed the patient to the mortuary after presuming that he had died,” said Dr Cheruiyot

He said that the matter was under investigations and the gaps that had been detected would be addressed after a report on investigation is tabled.

Members of the Kericho County Assembly on Tuesday absolved medical officers at the hospital of blame after an ad hoc committee on health formed to investigate the matter tabled its report in the House.

The committee was chaired by Hezron Ngetich (Chilchila ward), with Ms Ann Tum (nominated) as the vice chairperson while other members are- Paul Chirchir, Gilbert Ngetich, Wangare Njuguna, Emily Kerich, Erick Bii, Humprhey Kirui, Eric Bett and Philip Rono.

by nation.africa


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Health

KQ loses second pilot to Covid-19 in London

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The national carrier Kenya Airways has lost another pilot to Covid-19.

Captain Salah Salim Jeizan, 57, died at a London hospital on Wednesday, the airline’s chief human resources officer Evelyne Munyoki said in a condolence message.

Captain Jeizan flew to London’s Heathrow Airport on November 7 from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport but developed difficulties in breathing while in a London hotel.

Jeizan was rushed to the hospital from his hotel room and put on oxygen.

According to Ibrahim Johnny, a close colleague, the deceased will be buried on Thursday in London under the Islamic law.

Captain Jeizan joined the national carrier in 2001 as a junior pilot and rose through the ranks to his last position as a senior captain on the Boeing 787 fleet.

He flew to different international destinations in Europe, US and the Middle East.

“On behalf of the board of directors, the management and staff of Kenya Airways, we join the family of the late captain Jeizan in mourning their beloved one and pray that the almighty God will strengthen them during this time of sorrow,” KQ said in a statement.

In April Kenya lost its first captain, Daudi Kibati, days after commandeering a flight that evacuated Kenyans stranded in the US after the outbreak of Covid-19.

The captain was taken ill on March 29 after returning from New York and he died on April 1.

By NN


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