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Shock as beloved young Kenyan doctor dies of Coronavirus



Doctors around the country are mourning the death of Dr Adisa Lugaliki who succumbed to Covid-19. The news was shared by Dr Mercy Korir who described the deceased as a hardworking doctor who still had so much to offer.

“We have lost one of our own as a doctors’ fraternity to Covid-19. A young doctor with so much to offer,” tweeted Dr Korir.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union also sent a condolence message to the family of Dr Lugaliki, who served as an Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at The Nairobi South Hospital.

“We have lost a hard-working obstetrician/gynecologist, a mother, a friend and a colleague to the devastating effects of Covid-19.

“Our condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Doreen Lugaliki,” wrote KMPDU.

Online, many recalled their interactions with the deceased and lauded her for her professionalism and dedication to the medical profession.

The late Dr Adisa Lugaliki

Despite the risks involved, health workers have continued to give their all in the fight against Coronavirus, constantly asking the government to provide enough PPEs as they discharge their duties.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health announced 447 new COVID-19 cases after testing 3,803 samples bringing the national tally to 8,975.

This is the largest number of confirmed cases in a day since the first case was reported in the country.

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While speaking in Mombasa County, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said a total of 64 patients were discharged bringing the total number of recoveries to 2,657.

Four more people also succumbed to the disease bringing the death toll to 173.

Kagwe said since the cessation of movement was lifted three days ago, the government has been focusing on county preparedness to fight the curb of COVID-19.

He urged county governors who had not reached the maximum of 300 beds as proposed by the Ministry of health to do so.

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Death of Kenyan nurse raises questions



It was a short marriage.

That is what Stephen Okal Oketch says following the death of his wife – a nurse from Homa Bay County who had the coronavirus and who had just given birth to their first child.

Theatre nurse Marianne Awuor from Rachuonyo died on Sunday, two weeks after giving birth to a healthy baby, while on oxygen support.

Awuor, 32, and Mr Okal got married in a ceremony last December at Jabali Country Resort. They had been married for exactly seven months.

She was born on July 24, the same date as that of her first born child’s birth.

Mr Okal, the fifth born in a family of nine, was beside himself with grief when the Nation visited their home at Nyandang’e village in Kasipul division on Monday.

He said his wife booked a cake a month ago to celebrate their child’s birth as well as her birthday but her admission to hospital prevented this

“I will collect the cake after her burial, which is scheduled for Friday, and celebrate with the rest of the family,” said the 33-year-old, whose birthday is on July 22.


Awuor’s death has exposed deficiencies in county hospitals when it comes to handling Covid-19 patients as it emerged she was moved to Kisii County Teaching and Referral Hospital because of lack of specialists in her home county.

Earlier, the National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) claimed the patient had not been reviewed by any specialist since her admission at KTRH yet she needed intensive care.

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The nurse contracted the coronavirus at 33 weeks of pregnancy and gave birth normally.

She was found infected on July 20 and had symptoms including difficulty breathing, a cough and chills, but she had also tested negative three times.

“She was first tested at Rachuonyo hospital but her results were negative. At Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital, she tested positive on July 20 then we insisted on another test which we both took. The results were negative. After giving birth, she and our son were tested and the results were negative. A final test on Sunday brought negative results,” Mr Okal said.

Kisii County Public Health Director Richard Onkware said one of Awuor’s lungs collapsed due to the virus and that this was what caused her death.


Awuor’s family said her condition worsened last Friday.

Mr Okal and his father, Barack Oketch Amwata, have faulted the KTRH, saying medics neglected her when they learned she was infected.

“Doctors and nurses at KTRH are on a go-slow because they have not received their salaries. Our patient was left unattended from Friday last week with our newborn left to feed on air,” Mr Okal claimed, adding he was devastated when he visited his wife but found her in an abandoned ward.

Mr Amwata said that getting information from the facility was an uphill task.

“Nobody was willing to attend to her. We were not even informed of her transfer from ICU to the Covid-19 isolation facility.”

Mr Amwata further said they were not officially informed that Awuor had tested positive and were updated by a nurse who saw them in agony.

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“We met the official incharge of KTRH, Dr Enoch Ondari, only two days ago. Before that, it was very difficult to get information from the hospital that is supposed to be a referral facility,” said Mr Amwata.

He asked the government to investigate the case.

“I do not want any other person to undergo what we have been subjected to. Patients deserve care and their kin deserve to be treated with dignity,” he said, adding counselling would have helped.

County Health executive Sarah Omache denied the reports of neglect at the Kisii facility.


Awuor had been a theatre nurse for almost a year. Rachuonyo was her first posting and she had worked there in different departments since 2014.

Her boss, Dr Stephen Okello, said she loved her job.

“I am a surgeon. We worked together in the theatre. She loved her job and attended to her patients with passion,” he said, adding they would help the family with burial plans.

Following Awuor’s death, Mr Okal moved their son to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga hospital in Kisumu.

“He is still in the incubator. This is for feeding purposes  …  he is being fed via pipes,” he said, adding his wife left him a “wonderful gift”.

The child weighed 1.7 kilograms at birth and 1.85 kilograms at the time of being transferred from KTRH.

“My wife was headed for the theatre for delivery through a cesarean section but she insisted on delivering the normal way,” Mr Okal said, describing her as a loving, hardworking, intelligent and development-conscious woman.

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“Even while expectant, she attended to emergencies at the Rachuonyo theatre,” said the trader based in Oyugis town.


Earlier on Monday, health workers in Homa Bay downed their tools accusing the county of exposing them to the virus by failing to hire specialists for the ICU and other departments.

Kevin Osuri, Nyanza chair of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) and the county’s KMPDU Liaison Officer Amos Dulo said it does not have staff to handle critical cases.

“We have not heard a statement from the government about the death of our colleague. We are working in dangerous environments and are declaring Homa Bay a hostile place to work,” Dr Osuri said.

Dr Dulo said an ICU at the county referral hospital was not operational because of the lack of specialised medics.

The Homa Bay health department said it was waiting for a medical report from the Kisii hospital to ascertain the cause of Awuor’s death.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) asked the county to provide nurses with enough personal protective equipment (PPEs) to minimise their chances of getting infected.

Secretary George Bola said medical workers at public hospitals were grappling with a shortage of PPEs.

“The government has provided us with PPEs but they are not enough. We ask for more to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” he said.

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‘They put my dead baby in a box, asked if i’d carry it home,’ Zeddy narrates



Churchill comedienne Zeddy Zainabu has narrated how she found out that her child was stillborn after she delivered, something that shook her.

Speaking during an interview with Grace Msalame, Zeddy narrated,

‘I was expectant with my second born and everything was going on well till I felt it was time for my delivery.

I decided to go to the nearest private hospital so they referred me to Kiambu.

When I reached Kiambu hospital I was given a leso to lie down as the beds were full so I asked my husband to come pick me up and we went to Pumwani.’

Zeddy was taken to the delivery room but she was not ready for the horror that awaited her.

‘Upon reaching there I was taken directly to the delivery room.

When the baby was born, hakulia and I saw them looking at each other.

The doctor then took the baby and put him in a box and then using his foot pushed it towards the nurse.

He then asked me ‘mtabeba mwende nayo nyumbani?’

Shocked and confused Zeddy decided to ask a nurse what was happening but the nurse was so rude.

‘I asked my nurse what had happened to my baby and she responded ‘unatuuliza na wewe ndio umebeba huyu mtoto miezi tisa.

we ndio unaeza tuambia nini ilimfanyikia.

She was so rude so they never explained what happened. Upto date I never knew what transpired.

It was painful coming out of the ward with nothing.

My husband told me it was God’s plan and that we should let it go.’

After being taken back to the ward to recover Zeddy said that other mothers started treating her with suspicion.

‘I was hurt because I was put in the same ward with women who had their babies.

I would watch mothers nursing and bonding with their babies

One would be looked down upon with other mothers thinking that you would steal their babies.

If you were sitting between two mothers with babies and one wanted to go shower or to the loo they would not leave their baby with you.’

Her family would come to visit her but that did nothing to calm her sorrow.

‘My family would visit me but when I went home and that is when reality set in.

People would come asking me what gender the baby was without knowing the baby had died.

If the baby had been a boy I would have named him after my dad. I would ask God why me because my neighbour had a four month baby.

I started getting stressed so I gave out the shopping to other expectant mothers but they refused.

They said that taking the shopping might bring them bad luck and their babies might die.’

On what her lowest moment was Zeddy narrated,

‘I stayed in the house for months, My husband would go to work and he never bothered much.

It was hard to know if he was affected because he acted normal when he was at home.

There was a drunk friend of mine who would knock and demand I open the door.

He would ask me ‘Are you going to kill yourself because your child died?’

It’s then that he made me go out normally, he would even ask me to bring out my laundry we wash together.

We would go together to the market, he made me come out of my ‘cage’.

Sadly he died last year.’

Zeddy is now a proud mother of three.

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Unravelling .ink between diabetes and coronavirus



Fear, distress and anxiety is what best describes the feelings Newton Ngugi has been having for the past four months. As a diabetic, one of the groups of people at risk, he can boast about all the diabetes management lessons he has acquired from his doctor and support group for the past six years.

Not knowing what the future holds, the 25-year-old has proven to be resilient amidst all the anxiety, “I have been trying to stay calm and make sure I am okay, especially since there has been a lot of misguided information regarding us and Covid-19,” he says.

Stuck in a dilemma of whether to go to hospital or not, Ngugi has had to come up with ways of self management that has seen him not visit a hospital or develop diabetes complications since the pandemic hit Kenya.

“Most of us are afraid of going to the hospital even for regular check-up, because we have been told we are vulnerable. But even if we go, we are most likely to be attended to after hours of waiting by different doctors because most diabetes centres are still closed and the focus is on coronavirus,” he says.

For Ngugi, the coronavirus ca me wit h layoffs that affected him. Consequently, he lost his health insurance cover that rendered him unable to buy his medication.

“Although I don’t have a source of income, one thing I am really happy about is the support groups that have been my comfort place. They have been a shoulder to lean on throughout the pandemic and also comforted me when I felt so low. Especially since it is important to manage ones stress with diabetes,” he says.

According to International Diabetes Federation Atlas, just over half a million adults were living with diabetes in Kenya in 2019. This total is estimated to triple over the next 25 years. However, a high number of Kenyans with diabetes, an estimated 40 per cent, are unaware of their condition, putting them at a higher mortality risk when infected with Covid-19.

Ngugi is one of the many people living with diabetes who have been consumed by the fear hovering among diabetic patients. Although he has developed ways of

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managing the illness, it is still important to ensure that he goes for his regular check- up.

Unmasking diabetes

Dr Jacob Shabani, Chair, Department of Family Medicine at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, says various studies have documented that diabetic people have greater risk of death from Covid-19 infection.

“But while there is some truth in this, it’s important to note that, it is mainly uncontrolled diabetes that lowers the patient’s immunity. This happens because with prolonged periods of high blood sugars, white blood cells, responsible for producing immunoglobulins [antibody that neutralise pathogens such as bacteria and viruses), get damaged by excess glucose and fail to multiply adequately to make immune elements,” he says.

Therefore, he highlights, one has to ensure the body is well prepared to fight the disease, through regular appointments, avoiding self diabetes management and ensuring they have a telemedicine component so that their care can continue.

Dr Shabani adds that patients turning out to be Covid-19 positive and develop severe complications are those who are already diabetic, or were not aware they had diabetes, so their sugar control has worsened. He explains further that some death cases in patients with Covid-19 occur when they get diabetes complications such as diabetes ketoacidosis [when the blood sugar is very high and acidic substances called ketones build up to dangerous levels in your body) or low blood sugars that they end up with increased acidity and complications.

The pandemic, the doctor says, will worsen diabetics’ control of their condition and unmask people who had diabetes and didn’t know.

“With these revelations, it is important to get your sugar checked and be aware of your diabetes status. This will avoid late discovery and prevent complications. At Aga Khan University Hospital, we keep our regular services open to take care of our patients who have diabetes, hypertension and other chronic illnesses.

We remind them on how they can safely obtain care, get medications renewed and get check-ups to ensure they achieve the control they desire. We have also made sure that we keep a record of the people with these chronic illnesses and we make an effort to call those who have not come for their care as expected and remind them to keep their appointments,” he says.

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He advises people with chronic illnesses not to just refill their medications and treat symptoms without advice from their regular doctor because they might not know whether they are controlling their sugar or not and in that way, put themselves at risk. He also says they should stay at home and avoid unnecessary gatherings; however, they should visit their regular doctor or at least contact them telephonically.

“Patients with chronic disease will mitigate against their vulnerability if they keep their physical distance, avoid overcrowding, always wear a mask if they have to go out. They should also wash their hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol based sanitisers,” he adds.

Dr Catherine Kanari, Clinic lead, Amref health Africa, says diabetes is a known risk factor for developing severe Covid-19 complications, adding that people with the condition are more vulnerable in the society.

Although most adults with diabetes fear going for their regular checkups, Kanari emphasises on them for they ensure sugar levels are stable just in case one contracts the coronavirus. Failure to which, she highlights diabetics could be prone to developing other diabetes complications such as blindness or heart attack or stroke that may result in death.

Kanari further says that despite the virus being relatively new for health workers, study indicate it damages insulin producing cells, which are important for regulating blood sugar levels leading to rapid health deterioration.

Access to home care

“Although most diabetic people are vulnerable, further studies indicate that the virus might also trigger diabetes. Therefore, ensuring you follow the World health Organisation [WHO] Guidelines of staying safe and staying home to prevent transmission,” says Kanari.

In addition, people with diabetes are most likely to be vulnerable because when the body doesn’t make enough insulin to break down sugar, it uses ketons, which is an alternative source of fuel that is quite complex for a body with low immunity to process.

“One way we can deal with this and win the battle is by ensuring we enlighten people on the importance of management of diabetes and the importance of taking care of themselves and regularly checking their sugar levels. If a patient is able to access a glucometre and check their sugar levels by themselves, the better because then they would have avoided the whole process of going to the hospital and putting themselves at risk,” she says.

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Furthermore, the government need to quantify and make data of people who are vulnerable more accessible in order to ensure that diabetic patients and even patients with other chronic illnesses access better home based health care hence reducing mortality rate of people living with this diseases.


Most of us are afraid of going to the hospital even for regular check-up, because we have been told we are vulnerable. But even if we go, we are most likely to be attended to after hours of waiting by different doctors…


One way we can deal with this and win the battle is by ensuring we enlighten people on the importance of management of diabetes and the importance of taking care of themselves and regularly checking their sugar levels


It is mainly uncontrolled diabetes that lowers the patient’s immunity. With prolonged periods of high blood sugars, white blood cells… get damaged by excess glucose and fail to multiply adequately to make immune elements.

Effects of diabetes

Lower limb amputation
Nerve damage
Kidney failure
Heart attack
Increased risk of premature death (before age 70)

Effects of gestational diabetes

Pre-eclampsia or eclampsia

Overweight babies
Congenital malformations

Complications during childbirth Stillbirth

Death of mother
Increased risk of obesity in children

Increased risk of type 2 diabetes in children

Pregnancy risk
Older age at pregnancy
Excessive weight gain
Lack of exercise/ physical activity
Gestational diabetes during previous pregnancy

Unhealthy diet

Management of Diabetes
Diet, exercise
Regular screening and treatment for complications

Blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure control Stopping smoking

The proportion of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing in most countries TYPE1
More than 1.1 million children and adolescents are living with type 1 diabetes 79PC of adults with diabetes were living in low- and middleincome countries


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