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W. Pokot, Baringo, Samburu Covid-free status ‘misleading’



Three counties remain coronavirus-free as far as the Ministry of Health is concerned, more than four months since the first case was confirmed in Kenya.

West Pokot, Baringo and Samburu appear to the safe zones but the reality could be different, leaders and experts now warn.

It has emerged that the government has only tested 398 of the 1.5 million residents of the three arid and semi-arid counties.


The near negligible testing, scientists say, could be the reason for the “zero” cases.

During the daily Covid-19 briefings on Monday, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said while the government remains optimistic that the three regions will not record a coronavirus case, the reality is different.

Baringo, with 666,241 residents, has tested 169 people; West Pokot with a 621,241, has tested 115; while Samburu which has 310,327 people has carried out 114 tests.


Religious leaders in Samburu see the “hand of God” in the situation while politicians believe marginalisation has played a huge role in the Covid-19 zero numbers.

Samburu Deputy Governor Julius Leseeto said the few tests may be hiding the true impact and status of Covid-19 in the region.

Mr Leseeto said 114 samples tested are not enough to conclude that the county is coronavirus-free.

“If coronavirus response teams increase testing, chances of recording positive cases will also go up,” the deputy governor said yesterday.

Governor Moses Lenolkulal said the closure of borders would stop the importation of the virus to Samburu.

He raised concerns about the trend of people arriving in Maralal and other local towns from Mombasa, Nairobi and other coronavirus hotspots.


Mr Lenolkulal added that his administration is consulting President Uhuru Kenyatta over the closure of borders “since that is a national government function”.

“Samburu must be closed for a while,” the governor said.

West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo said more health workers have been recruited and trained on fighting the deadly virus.

Prof Lonyangapuo added that isolation centres are being set up to contain the disease.

“We have finalised plans to put up an Intensive Care Unit at referral hospital in Kapenguria. Isolation centres will be set up at sub-county level,” he said.

The governor added that his administration has trained more than 400 medical practitioners to deal with the virus.

“Hospitals in Kacheliba, Sigor, Chepareria, Alale, Kabichibich and health centres like Kanyarkwat and Keringet are ready to tackle Covid-19 cases,” Prof Lonyangapuo said.

“Rough terrain remains our main challenge in reaching rural residents to educate them on the dangers of the disease and how to contain it.”

Pastoralism is the main economic activity of West Pokot.


Many residents say they have no access to thermo-guns, face marks and sanitiser.

Most of them do not observe social distancing.

“The literacy rate of West Pokot is perhaps the lowest in the country. Many people are not aware of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health to stop the spread of coronavirus and authorities have done little to sensitise them on anti-Covid-19 directives,” Mr Benjamin Lopuonyang, a Kapenguria resident, said.

Baringo authorities have scaled up preparedness should the region report a Covid-19 case.

Health executive Mary Panga said Mogotio Hospital has been converted to an 80-bed isolation centre.


Kaptimbor Health Centre has 10 beds while Eldama Ravine has eight, she said.

There are four ICU beds at the referral hospital.

“Apart from the isolation wards, we have trained at least 900 health workers on how to handle coronavirus patients. The training of more staff is ongoing,” Ms Panga said.

The executive added that the random tests were carried out in several regions, including informal settlements.

She said the devolved government would ensure 20 more beds are added to the Mogotio Hospital isolation centre.

Ms Panga said the county government is screening travellers at critical entry points.

The border points are Mogotio for travellers arriving from Nakuru county and Oinobmoi for those from Eldoret and Iten.


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NMS apologises for Pumwani child birth fiasco, takes actions



All the four hospitals in the capital, which are run by the Nairobi County government, will now be manned by officers from the National Police Service to prevent disruption of services.

The Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) announced this on Saturday after making several changes at Pumwani Maternity Hospital following an incident on September 13 in which a woman gave birth at the gate.

In a statement, NMS’ Director of Health Services, Dr Josephine Kibaru-Mbae, explained that the woman was denied entry into the facility.

Dr Kibaru-Mbae noted that the incident took place two days after nurses began a legal go-slow but added that essential services were still being offered.

“The security guard denied the patient access to the premises in a very unfortunate incident [but] a nurse from the maternity ward was notified,” she said, adding the medic rushed to the scene and helped with the delivery and the patient’s admission.


The agency apologised for the incident and said that going forward, officers from the NPS will augment provision of security at the four main county hospitals.

The other three are Mbagathi, Mama Lucy Kibaki and Mutuini.

“We take this opportunity to apologise to all Kenyans and mothers in particular for this unfortunate incident,” Dr Kibaru-Mbae said.

She assured the safety of the mother and child, saying they were both well and were discharged on Friday.

“NMS commends the nurses who quickly assisted the patient,” she said, adding Pumwani’s security team was changed and a customer care desk set up.

“NMS commits to train front office staff in all its facilities,” she added.

This is not the first time Pumwani has been in the limelight for the wrong reasons. Cases of mothers delivering outside the wards as well as those of child theft have been rife at the health facility.


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All about subdural hematoma, condition Nameless’ dad has been suffering from



Kenyan artiste Nameless has revealed that his dad has been ailing from a condition known as Subdural Hematoma in medical terms.

A subdural hematoma is a collection of blood outside the brain. It occurs when there is a head injury.

The bleeding is under the skull and outside the brain, not in the brain itself. As blood pools, however, it puts more pressure on the brain.

In the case of Nameless dad, the condition had led to clots in the head which in turn were causing minor strokes.

Below are things to learn about the condition.

There are different symptoms to Subdural hematoma and some include

  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Change in behavior
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lethargy or excessive drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Apathy
  • Seizures

The symptoms in subdural hematoma patients are not standard, it varies from one patient to another.

The conditions that influence the symptoms one has when battling subdural hematoma include

  • The size of the hematoma
  • Age of the patient
  • Other underlying medical conditions

Hematoma is majorly caused by a head injury, such as from a fall, motor vehicle collision, or an assault.

The sudden blow to the head tears blood vessels that run along the surface of the brain.

A subdural hematoma can be diagnosed using imaging tests, such as a CT or MRI scan.

Your doctor may also give you a physical examination to check your heart rate and blood pressure for evidence of internal bleeding.

An acute subdural hematoma can only be treated in an operating room.

A surgical procedure called a craniotomy may be used to remove a large subdural hematoma.

It’s normally used to treat acute subdural hematomas. In this procedure, your surgeon removes a part of your skull in order to access the clot or hematoma.

They then use suction and irrigation to remove it.

Results of hematoma may include

  • brain herniation, which puts pressure on your brain and can cause a coma or death
  • seizures
  • permanent muscle weakness or numbness.


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Couple’s triumph after testing positive



At the beginning of July this year, Geoffrey Alemba, a protocol officer in an international organisation in Nairobi was suffering from severe fever. He did not think much of it, hence he suffered through it for two more nights before seeking treatment on July 3 upon his wife, Sylvie’s insistence. The tests showed he had an acute bacterial infection. He was put on medication and went back home. By Monday July 5, the symptoms worsened , with a backache setting in.

When he began exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms such as nausea and dry throat he decided to seek treatment on July 8, with Sylvie offering to drive him to the hospital. His wife stayed with him as the doctors conducted a battery of tests, ranging from CT Scans to blood tests.

The last test was the nose swab whose results were expected to come out in 24 hours. Geoffrey was admitted and put on isolation, while Sylvie drove home, only to be arrested on her way there for staying out past curfew hours. After a tense twenty- four hours wait, Geoffrey was diagnosed positive.

Death sentence

“I remember breaking down after receiving the diagnosis. All I could remember immediately the doctor stepped out was the constant mention of death and Covid-19 in the same breath. It felt like a death sentence,” Geoffrey explains.

Geoffrey was also in shock as he had been careful both at work and at home. He was the guy who would always have a mask on, and was a vocal advocate for social distancing measures, putting on masks, hand washing and using sanitisers.

He called his wife immediately after his diagnosis and urged her to get tested. Sylvie tested positive, but with no symptoms.

After two days, his symptoms worsened, which necessitated him to be put on oxygen for four days. His doctor told him he was being treated for pneumonia and was put on drip for 10 of the 12 days he was admitted due to loss of appetite.

His body responded well to treatment and he stabilised enough for the second Covid test to be done before being released from hospital. The test came out positive and they opted for home-based care.

Sylvie had to prove that their home was fit to accommodate an ailing patient without posing a risk to other people, as per the Ministry of Health home care guidelines.


Sylvie rearranged their second bedroom and bathroom into his quarantine quarters, bought paper plates and cups to prevent cross infection and he was discharged armed with multi-vitamins and an inhaler.

“First of all, if it wasn’t for God, it would have been worse. I thank him for life and for Sylvie. Sylvie has been supportive. She would cook for me masked and wearing gloves, place the food and drinks for me in disposable plates and cups, and gave me emotional support via phone through it all,” Geoffrey enthuses.

Geoffrey just finished using his inhaler two weeks ago, though he is still on multivitamins for an immunity boost. Four tests later, he has tested negative twice and is back to work. After five tests, his wife is also negative and back to work too.

“People at the office have been supportive. I cannot say I have been stigmatised on that end. Our landlord and neighbours have also been kind and supportive. Of course, there is that fear that you can almost feel emanating from friends. There is also this one incident which I find more hilarious than hurtful. I had parked my car in a place where the guard knows me. He came to check the car and on seeing me, quickly pulled up his mask, which had been lying on his chin and took off without a word,” he further elaborates.

Alemba is still a passionate advocate for people to practice the MOH guidelines for Covid-19 prevention. He is testament to the fact that Covid is real; he has a sizeable dent in his finances to show for it. He talks of the need to care for others as one can be asymptomatic and easily spread it to others. He talks with reverence of the doctors and nurses who walked him to recovery.

“Seeing the nurses sweating and still smiling in their PPEs as they took care of us was quite humbling. One nurse told us of how the neighbour’s children run away from her whenever they spot her since they know she works with Covid patients.

“Knowing that there are all these people who stand between the ailing and certain death is quite sobering. If for no other reason, they should inspire you to be better just so you do not unnecessarily risk their lives. This whole experience has made me be want to be kinder and to be gentle towards other people and their experiences. You never know what someone has gone through. Even when they share it, you may not grasp its full depth or breadth,” he concludes.


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