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I kept in touch with my kids on Zoom while in isolation

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Not even being locked down in her bedroom after she tested positive for Covid-19 would stop Dr Amakove Wala from interacting with her children. She shares with us her journey as well as breaking stigma

When Dr Amakove Wala, a health expert, began experiencing chills and fever, she attributed it to fatigue and stress she had been going through having lost a close friend and colleague Dr Adisa Lugaliki, to Covid-19. So, she slept, hoping to feel better, but when she woke up the following morning, nothing had changed.

“I remember being in a meeting and at around 11am, I couldn’t concentrate and had to leave. I took some painkillers, slept but never got better. It was only when I received a phone call from a friend whom I had come into contact with and had tested positive for Covid-19 that I knew things were serious and I had to get tested,” narrates Dr Wala.

Two days later on July 22 this year, Dr Wala tested positive for Covid-19. She opted for home-based care because she had mild symptoms. However, one thing that she was worried about was the well-being of her four children; her son aged 12, and her triplets who are 10 years. She was also worried about the impact that this news would have to those around her.

“When I broke the news to my children, they were scared that I was going to die. I reassured them that I had mild symptoms and emphasised the need for isolation,” she narrates.

Dr Amakove Wala’s four children looked forward to interacting with her via Zoom.

The first day of isolation was tough on her since on a normal day, every night before her children go to sleep, they would hang out in her bed, discussing the day’s events. Now with her having Covid-19 and being locked-up in her bedroom, Dr Wala had to take their pre bedtime ritual to Zoom. Being a close-knit family that love close contact, this has been one of the toughest moments for her.

“The time I catch-up with my children is one of my special moments. I assure them of their safety and mine, and every day we talk about their feelings. I update them on my progress and emphasise on the small wins,” she adds.

Another bonding activity that she misses is cycling and watching movies with them.

Dr Amakove Wala.

However, since her children are older and independent, Dr Wala doesn’t worry much about them taking care of themselves. In addition, she has an able nanny who attends to her and stills run the house.

First, her meals are served at the door and her house manager knocks to alert her. Once Dr Wala is done, her house manager, picks the utensils, while wearing protective clothes and washes them separately. Her meals comprise of a lot of fruits and home-made concoctions that have ginger, lemon and honey. She also supplements on Zinc and Vitamin C and takes antibiotics and when in pain, painkillers.

Her laundry too is done separately. Luckily, the mother of four has a washing machine, which makes work easier for her house manager as she uses gloves to throw them in the machine.

Supportive family, friends

“You become a pariah to society. You can’t even interact closely with your own family members. Your personal items are treated with the highest level of sanitation. Everything is disinfected. Man, this is tough and I think not practical for many families that are not able to afford this level of isolation,” she narrates.

Despite the loneliness, Dr Wala is thankful for having supportive family and friends who send her a lot of tips on how to beat the loneliness, what to eat and drink, how to keep fit and also check on her children as she isolates.

In addition, she also has a smaller circle of friends who are also on a home-based- care regime and they exchange notes every now and then on what to do. But one thing that she has had to minimise is her social media use.

Coming out

“I was getting burn-out. There is an information overload if one doesn’t watch out. Many people intend well, but I got bogged down by the many forwards on recipes and prayer chains. I like a certain group I am in, which they appointed one person to be checking on me twice a day and report back to the group. That really assisted me to answer the many questions from concerned friends and family. I also have a close friend who insisted on being there throughout,” she says.

But one thing Dr Wala says is she has been able to get her much-needed rest. Her days have been spent eating, drinking, sleeping, basking in the sun, reading, doing exercises such as yoga and watching movies.

On why she opted to share her daily experiences on her Facebook Page, Dr Wala says: “I was more worried about the impact to those around me rather than myself. I am used to blogging about my life, especially topics that society is reluctant to discuss such as relationships, sex and parenting among others. As a public health practitioner, I know the angle that the response we have had has taken a punitive approach to the virus. It is almost a crime to get Covid-19. What many ask is, what did you do wrong to get this virus? This has made many of us shy away from declaring our positive status. I felt I needed to speak up and demystify the disease. The benefits far outweighed the cons,” she says.

Dr Wala came out of isolation on Monday this week on her 12th day. “I am glad to see that the guidelines are being shortened to reduce the isolation period to when symptoms disappear and not necessarily when the test turns negative. Covid-19 is real and common now. Luckily many of us will get the mild symptoms. It is important to continue practicing the guidelines laid down for us to flatten the curve. Above all, let us break the stigma1 Stop criminalising the disease,” she says in conclusion.

DR WALA
When I broke the news to my children, they were scared that I was going to die. I reassured them that I had mild symptoms

AT A GLANCE

• Dr Amakove Wala tested positive for Covid-19 on July 22.

• She opted for home-based care and went into isolation for 12 days when her symptoms dissapeared.

• She is thankful to her caregiver who nursed her, endured stigma and further took care of her children.

By PD.co.ke

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Health

NMS apologises for Pumwani child birth fiasco, takes actions

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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.

Apology

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.

by nation.africa

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Health

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

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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.

By Mpasho.co.ke

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Health

Couple’s triumph after testing positive

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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.

Discharged

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.

By PD.co.ke

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