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Siaya burial: more details emerge – VIDEO

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The hasty pre-dawn burial of James Oyugi Onyango, a Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) employee who succumbed to coronavirus complications last week, has drawn sharp criticism from Kenyans, political leaders and civil society organisations in Siaya.

This is even as the Cornel Rasanga-led Siaya County Government moves to distance itself from certain aspects of the burial that, according to video clips taken at the site, saw the body being thrown into a shallow grave in a body bag without a coffin.

The Sunday morning burial is now coming under fire after it emerged that Ministry of Health (MoH) rules on burying of Covid-19 victims may have been breached.

According to MoH regulations for disposal of Covid-19 victims, before commencement of handling of the remains, the family must be fully informed about the dignified burial process and their religious and personal rights to show respect for the deceased.

It also took place between 1 and 2 am on Sunday morning in the presence of a handful of people, including security and county health officials.

However, this is in contravention of gazetted rules under the Public Health Act that stipulate funerals must only happen during the day.

“The burial or cremation ceremony may only take place between 0900 hours – 1500 hours,” Section 8 (1) (b) of the Public Health rules on Covid-19 says.

Many Kenyans commenting on the matter online have drawn parallels between Mr Onyango’s burial and that of previous coronavirus victims in the country.

For instance, the first Kenyan to succumb to Covid-19 — Engineer Maurice Namiinda — was buried in Naisambu village, Trans Nzoia County last Tuesday in a 35-minute ceremony attended by immediate family members and officiated by the Catholic Church.

READ ALSO:   Reckless priest: 148 people in Siaya placed in isolation

Another Covid-19 victim, Kenya Airways Captain Daudi Kimuyu Kibati, was buried at a ceremony attended by 15 people at Mavindini village, Kitui Rural Sub-County amid tight security.

Both funerals were conducted during the day, unlike that of Mr Onyango.

The victim’s brother, identified as Zack Onyango, in an interview with a local radio station yesterday accused the State of burying his kin “like a dog.”

He also alleged that the family was denied the opportunity to accord the deceased a decent send-off.

In the interview, he claims that the State apparatus — led by the area assistant chief — pushed the family into being part of a hurried interment.

“Our plea to have them allow us burry him in a coffin were roundly rejected. We had made a down payment for a coffin which was being made at Ukwala town but they came with express orders on Saturday night that the whole ceremony was to be done with immediately,” he is recorded as saying.

He also accused county health authorities of refusing to avail results of the tests conducted on the body to the family.

“We are yet to see the (test) results to ascertain what killed our brother. We are not in any way saying he didn’t succumb to the disease but it was fair to share the results with the family as well,” he added.

READ ALSO:   Reckless priest: 148 people in Siaya placed in isolation

Mr Onyango also faulted the government over failure to conduct a post-mortem on the body to conclusively establish the cause of death.

Among the Kenyans who reacted with shock over the burial process is Senator James Orengo, who represented Ugenya constituency as MP.

“Covid-19 has struck Siaya like meteor. Witnessed an undignified burial in the dead of night as surreal as mass graves in New York and military funeral convoys in Lombardy. We are confronted with unprecedented challenges. Lets not forget our humanity even in the midst of tragedy,” he said via his Twitter handle yesterday.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi said of the bizarre burial: “Understandably, as a people, we are currently swimming in unchartered waters. The Covid-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down. Nevertheless, we must apply the same standards for every situation. All victims deserve dignity, even in death. Moreover, among the Luo, just like in most African cultures, the dead are accorded utmost respect.”

Central Alego Ward MCA Leonard Oriaro, who is a member of the County Health Committee, said he strongly condemned the process through which the Siaya authorities handled the body.

“Involvement of the bereaved family in according the dead last respect and dignified use of coffin alongside body bags should have been done,” he said, adding that religious practices in conducting the last respects should also have been allowed.

The MCA said that Mr Rasanga should bear political responsibility for how the victim’s body was handled.

However, the County Governor has distanced himself and his administration from some aspects of the burial, saying his team did not order that it be conducted at night.

READ ALSO:   Reckless priest: 148 people in Siaya placed in isolation

In response to queries by the Nation on Monday, Mr Rasanga said: “We did not give these instructions. We are going to probe who gave these orders.”

Despite this, a statement issued on Sunday night by the Governor’s director of Communications, Mr Jerry Ochieng, had stated that the body was disposed off in line with protocols issued by the MoH.

The Luo council of elders, in contrast with other leaders, hailed State agencies who took part in the burial of the Covid-19 victim.

Executive director of the Luo council of elders, Mzee Owino Ngady, noted that even in the olden days, members of the community would be buried depending on the circumstances surrounding their death.

“The move to quickly bury the deceased at night was in order given the circumstances surrounding his death,” he said, adding that culture was not static and would evolve depending on circumstances.

So far, 45 people among them nurses and clinical officers from Matibabu Hospital in Ukwala where he passed away, have been put on forced quarantine at Siaya KMTC campus grounds.

Also rounded up include 15 immediate family members of the deceased and boda boda operators who had contact with the victim in Ukwala.

Primary and secondary contact tracing is currently underway in Kisumu, Nairobi and Mombasa where the man may have had contact with people.

By Nation


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Deep-Dive Analysis: Studying Master’s At Alabama A&M University

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BY BOB MWITI

Have you ever wondered what it takes to study your master’s in America?. Well, in this episode of Success With Bob Mwiti Show, I take a deep-dive analysis of taking your master’s at Alabama A&M University. If you like my work, please subscribe to my YouTube channel

A Little Bit About Me!

I am a former international student in USA and I am a senior IT consultant in the areas of Oracle EBS Financials and Robotics Process Automation (RPA) here in USA. I am the programs director of Appstec America – A consulting company based in Tampa, Florida, USA.

I’ve been blessed to have learned a lot in my career as an IT consultant. My life has truly changed, and I’ve made it my mission to give back and serve others beyond myself. Whether that be helping you to relocate to USA as an international student, train you as an IT consultant, help you start and build your own online business, creating your financial freedom, motivating you to pursue your goals and dreams, to being more productive, to inspiring you to constantly improve yourself.

My mission is to get you to wake up to the unlimited potential within you and achieve what you’re truly capable of through my various self-development training programs.On the internet, I openly and passionately share my life experiences and all of the very best concepts, strategies, tools, and resources that I continue to discover that have made a measurable difference to my life, and will do for you as well.

READ ALSO:   Reckless priest: 148 people in Siaya placed in isolation

Keep your dream alive and never give up! To learn about my company’s amazing programs, please go to;

www.appstecamerica.com or www.successwithbobmwiti.com

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+1 813-573-5619 ext 402


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The toughest 9 months: I was pregnant with cancer

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She peed in a cup at the health centre, praying that the chemotherapy was not bringing up other health problems. She had walked into the facility after feeling worse than usual. Chemotherapy effects were bad, but this morning she felt worse. She just wanted to be fine, then she would finally start enjoying her new marriage.

A few moments later, the young medical officer walked up to her with a smile. “You have nothing to worry about. You are pregnant,” he said calmly. Jackline Kanyua was not sure how to feel about the news. On one hand she was happy, motherhood did not seem like a far-fetched dream anymore.

But again, her doctor had told her that avoiding pregnancy as she went through her cancer treatment was the best thing for her health. Heck, her monthly period had even disappeared. But the doctor had assured her that the chemotherapy and the drugs she took were enough to cause that.

Yet here she was, in 2017, in her mid-20s, newly married, pregnant but with cancer; Stage 3 breast cancer that needed aggressive treatment. The journey had all began a few months earlier when she felt a tight hard lump in her breast while singing in the shower. She had been planning her wedding then. What luck? she mused.

World over, according to the World Health Organisation, one in 1,000 mothers find themselves in the very same quagmire as Jackline. And just like Jackline’s doctor, other medics warn that pregnancy could complicate cancer treatment, just as much as cancer treatment interferes with pregnancy.

Andrew Odhiambo, a Nairobi-based consultant oncologist, advises that once a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, the safest option is to avoid pregnancy.

“Getting pregnant presents serious challenges, but even the treatment itself can cause a stoppage in menstrual flow,” says Dr Odhiambo.

The biggest dilemma presented, he explains, is whether to stop treatment and carry the pregnancy to term or to terminate the pregnancy and continue with medication. If chemotherapy has to start immediately, especially in advanced cancer stages, then termination has to be done. In fact, doctors recommend that women on treatment for cancer should be on contraception until some period after the end of treatment.

READ ALSO:   Reckless priest: 148 people in Siaya placed in isolation

“Carrying the pregnancy means stopping treatment, especially radiation or chemotherapy. Surgery can only be done after the second trimester. We always advise women to consider freezing their eggs and probably using them later once treatment is done,” Odhiambo says.

A 2019 study published in PubMed Central (PMC) affirms that radiation can be dangerous and that only non-ionising imaging methods are preferred to reduce exposure to the foetus.

“Unfortunately, not many medications can be safely used during pregnancy and mother should be exhaustive in thought about potential risks and complications of those systemic treatments,” the study states.

At the time when Jackie found out she was pregnant, she had had 10 chemotherapy sessions and a lumpectomy.

To navigate this new development, the couple made an appointment with their doctor at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), where tough decisions had to be made. The doctor gave her two options; to keep the baby and forget about the treatment or terminate the pregnancy and continue with her treatment. And being at cancer stage 3 at the time of diagnosis, this was a decision she had to make fully aware of the risks.

Abort or not?

“Keeping the baby was a huge risk but I decided to go for it. I told them that I did not require any time to think about anything because this was the best gift I could have. Or I could even give to my new husband. So I quickly signed the consent forms to stop treatment,” she recalls.

With pregnancy, several changes occur in a woman’s body. They include a drop in the number of lymphocytes that act as defence against foreign objects, including disease-causing pathogens.

“A pregnant woman naturally has increasing levels of oestrogen hormone. But these increasing levels, in the case of a pregnant woman with cancer, have a potential of accelerating breast cancer. Now add to the fact that you have stopped treatment, this can get too bad too fast,” says Dr John Ongech, a consultant gynaecologist.

READ ALSO:   Reckless priest: 148 people in Siaya placed in isolation

Jackline’s first trimester was, however, uneventful despite treatment having stopped. The fifth month of pregnancy, however, turned into a nightmare, as her right breast, which had undergone surgery, burst, becoming a raw open wound. She could not, however, be put on medication because of the growing foetus.

“The wound festered and smelled so horrible. The only way to care for the wound was using water and no drugs. My husband, Jude, had to stay home to take care of me. One of the women from church came visiting and found me in such a deplorable condition that she decided to take us into her home to provide care,” says jackline.

Unbearable pain

When Jackline was six months pregnant she had had enough and told her husband that they had to terminate the pregnancy.

“The pain was unbearable, and the wound didn’t seem to be healing. The cancer seemed to be growing and I wanted to resume treatment.”

And so they booked and paid Sh15,000 for the procedure.

“When we got to the KNH procedure room and I saw the devices that were to be used, I literally ran and called my husband once I was ‘safely’ seated inside a bus headed to the CBD,” she says.

A week later, facing unbearable pain, Jackline and Jude went back to have the pregnancy terminated, the second time. This was never to be, since when they got to hospital she changed her mind, again.

“I remember asking the attendants what they thought was the worst thing that could happen to me now that I had cancer, and their answer was “death”. I also asked them what was the worst that could happen if I carried the pregnancy to term. Their answer was still “death”. I was then ready to give up my life for my baby.”

On noting her dogged determination and the excruciating pain she was in, the medics suggested that she carries the pregnancy to seven months and then she could deliver preterm and have the baby put in incubation.

Pain notwithstanding that seemed like the best choice she had. And so, it would be. At seven months, labour was induced and baby Zawadi made her entrance into the world. The distressed baby would be whisked off to the ICU immediately to begin her recovery. As for her mother, aggressive treatment would resume. Luckily, Zawadi made a good recovery and was moved to the nursery and later to the paediatric ward.

READ ALSO:   Reckless priest: 148 people in Siaya placed in isolation

Two months later, mother and baby were back home, where new challenges awaited.

“Due to my medication, I could not breastfeed Zawadi and she had to depend on formula milk,” says Jackline.

All was going on well, until April this year when a cycle of chemotherapy and trouble struck again.

“Because I was lactating, yet the milk was not being consumed, the infected breast started having complications and I had to begin treatment once more.”

Doctors also discovered that the previous surgery had not completely removed the cancerous cells and they had to go in again. Her latest session of chemotherapy ended in October, after which Jackline was taken in for a mastectomy. She is recovering.

“This will be followed by another round of radiation to kill any remaining cancerous cells. I need close to ShI million for that. I have Sh450,000 already, thanks to support from well-wishers after I was featured on comedian MC Jessy’s show. I am hopeful that it will work out, and I will be here for my baby and husband,” she says.

This may have worked out for Jackie, but doctors caution that hers was a big risk they would not encourage because of the potential for fast spread of cancer cells, a complication that would mean she would be on lifelong treatment, or just die.

“Also, pregnancy while with cancer has been linked with a likelihood of recurrence of the cancer,” says Dr Ongech.

As Jackline cradles her baby, with a smile, as the interview comes to a close, it is clear that it was worth the risk.

“My baby was the best choice I made. It will be fine.”

by STandardmedia.co.ke


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