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Inequalities even in death

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The novel coronavirus was heralded as the great equaliser when the first case was confirmed in Kenya. The virus, it seemed, did not care whether you were a wealthy Nairobi resident or a poor citizen trying to literally scratch off a living from the earth. Anyone could get it. And for a few short weeks, it looked like the gap that has constantly been expanding between Kenya’s rich and poor had been bridged.

Soon though, this emerged as just another wish. With time, the coronavirus has not only preyed on our inequalities, but it has magnified them at a time when the nation is most vulnerable. Not even in death has the coronavirus failed to remind us of just how different we are, as burials of the prominent and the well-off are conducted in a respectful manner complete with final rites.

On the other extreme, the burials of the lowly or those considered to be on the lower rungs of Kenya’s social ladder are treated to a near-dehumanising, minutes-long affair where their departed are rushed from hospital to morgue to interment even before the mourners’ first tears hit the ground.

Shallow grave

It has been heart breaking for families.

In April, 59-year-old James Oyugi died from what health officials said were Covid-19 related complications. Almost 24 hours after his death, public health officials collected his body from the hospital ward where he died, put it a body bag and loaded it onto a pick-up truck and drove to the family home late in the night. They found a shallow grave that the family had started digging and hurled the body in it.

There was no coffin. Some of the children of the deceased, navigating a night curfew, got to their father’s grave later on that Easter Sunday only to be told that the burial was over.

There were no funeral proceedings. But this perceived coldness and inhumane treatment of the dead ought not to have been. In May, after the debacle in Siaya, Afya House battled the bad publicity and even toyed with the idea of exhuming the body so that a proper reburial could take place. This would have entailed going to court and obtaining a court order, conducting a public ceremony to set precedence for Covid-19 burials.

Decorum

The plan was however dropped at some point after top ministry officials vetoed it. Instead, a team led by Acting Director General of Health Dr Patrick Amoth and Government Spokesman was dispatched to Siaya to talk to the community and the area leadership. After Oyugi, many others have been buried in similar fashion yet a few, with perceptions of sitting higher up the social ladder have had the Covid-19 related burials handled with a bit more decorum and with minimal rush from the State.

On Thursday, the secretary-general of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) Peter Kariuki Kania was buried in a graceful manner in Kikuyu, Kiambu County, in a ceremony attended by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and Deputy President William Ruto.

He did not suffer the indignity of a rushed ceremony, a wrapped up coffin and the constant fumigation of the coffin as has been witnessed in other burials.

In between Oyugi and Rev Kania, the burials have lacked rhythm, oscillating between theatrics and the absurd. In death, as in life, Covid-19 continues to expose our vulnerabilities.

By Standard.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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