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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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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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Living with aplastic anaemia, a rare blood condition



In 2011, as a 16-year-old, Aminah Paul was always vibrant in school and happened to be the best in athletics and music. He was basically doing all the normal activities of a teenager. However, every time he participated in such vigorous activities, he would experience sharp pains in his chest, which led to shortness of breath. After a year, he started to become extremely fatigued, and in no time, he had to dismiss any activities in which he had to exert himself just to see if the exhaustion would go away. But after months of laying low, the symptoms intensified and others appeared.

One day, he became dizzy and fainted, he was rushed to a local German hospital in Mathare and after several blood tests, results showed a low blood count and ruled out possibility of sickle cell anaemia. They needed to transfuse Paul, but in the process of looking for blood, he had to be put on oxygen.

Tesrs and biopsies

“When I got to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), they opened my file, but later terminated it because they didn’t have enough blood supply in the bank. I was later put on blood supplements. After two days I travelled to Kisumu, but on my way, I became so weak that I had to be taken to Marie Stopes Kisumu, where I was admitted for two months. The condition started affecting my sight and I was referred back to KNH for a detailed examination,” he explains.

All along he was filled with many questions and was completely clueless on how to address the situation and how to feel about this new life of walking in and out of hospitals. With his eyesight already affected, he hoped the blurry images were part of a dream he could soon wake up from once he got to KNH.  “They told me to book for a bone marrow aspirate tests, which turned out negative so the doctors ruled out aplastic anaemia and concluded that I had anaemia. I then continued with the iron supplements and a good diet to boost my blood,” he recalls.

Bone marrow aspirate is a procedure that involves taking samples of the liquid part of the soft tissue inside the bone to determine whether a patient has any condition including anaemia, other blood cell diseases, bone marrow diseases and other conditions. For the next five years, Paul’s health improved until August 2018 when the same symptoms recurred. He underwent blood work at Mama Lucy Hospital and was put back on iron supplements. “In 2019, I got ill again and went for a blood work at Mercy Sisters in Makadara and the result showed I had a haemoglobin concentration (hb) of 1.6 and sickle cell negative, this was threatening so I had to get an urgent blood transfusion. I was rushed to Kijabe Mission Hospital for a blood transfusion and a bone marrow aspirate; unfortunate they never had a bone marrow specialist. I received only a unit of blood and was released in the morning with a hb of four ,” he explains.

A week later, he was back at KNH for readmission. His symptoms had flared up again. He spent several hours unattended, and was forced to move to Jaama Hospital where he got a unit of blood as an outpatient. He was admitted the following day and stayed for three weeks. His health began to deteriorate and that is when he went to MP Shah Hospital for a bone marrow aspirate. The report didn’t give a clear conclusion, so he was advised to undergo a trephine or bone marrow biopsy, a process where cells are checked for diseases.

He was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia. According to Dr Sarah Bosire, a doctor at Kenyatta National Hospital, Department of Oncology, aplastic anaemia is a condition that occurs when your body stops producing enough new blood cells, as a result of damaged bone marrow. “With this condition, the stem cells are damaged and as a result, the bone marrow is either empty (aplastic) or contains few blood cells (hypoplastic),” she explains. According to studies, aplastic anaemia is a rare life-threatening disease. The incidence and median age at diagnosis vary according to geography and ranges from 1.5 to about seven cases per million from age 25- 60 years respectively.

But since the introduction of immunosuppressive therapy and allergenic stem transplantation, which Paul is set to undergo, the outcome has improved considerably and the five-year survival is reported to be 70-80 per cent in selected patients.

Immature cells

“Aplastic anaemia is not as rare as it has always appeared. In many cases, there is a misdiagnosis of the condition, which then makes many people suffer in silence. The belief that the condition is a result of witchcraft causes patients to resort to treatments when it’s too late,” Dr Bosire says. Although it is often likened to sickle cell anaemia and leukemia because of recurrent transfusions, patients of aplastic anaemia have lower counts of the three blood cells; red, white, and platelets. This means that the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells to replenish dying ones.

“In most cases, the patient has immature blood cells, which make them prone to infections, spontaneous bleeds, and low haemoglobin count,” adds Dr Bosire. While anyone can get aplastic anaemia, it is more likely to happen to teens and the elderly.

Acquired aplastic anaemia is the most common, and accounts for 50 per cent of cases with unknown causes. However, researchers believe it can be triggered in the immune system. Such triggers include; viruses such as HIV, certain medications, toxic chemicals like insecticides, organic solvents, paint removers, and herbicides. Also, radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatments play a major role.

Symptoms depend on the blood cell count, which in some patients could be of all the three blood components. “Patients could get shortness of breathe, dizziness, pale skin, headaches, infections, high fever, easy bruising and bleeding, bleeding of gums, chest pains, and irregular heartbeat,” Dr Bosire says.


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‘I have been living with HIV/Aids for 10 years’ Narrates rape survivor Nikita



A South African woman identified as Nikita has won the admiration of many for publicly speaking about her journey with HIV/Aids.

Sharing her experience via her twitter account she says

‘I have survived raped twice by my uncle and a unknown man,I have survived abuse from my mom.

I grew up in a orphanage, I was conceived via rape,I got diagnosed at 18 with a CD4 of below 100.

10 years later Im stil here thanks to my arvz #Covered24_7′

Nikita, who has been living with HIV for 10 years.

In another tweet Niqita said she was once sexually once abused while expectant by someone who should have protected her.

‘Ever had to be sexually abused while pregnant simply because you needed accommodation yep that was me. It made my strong.’

Describing herself, the mother of three said that HIV does not define her.

In the recent past more and more people are sharing their HIV stories. Among the most public cases are Asumpta Wagura, the late Binyavanga Wainaina,Phenny Awiti and Doreen Moraa.

Phenny Awiti was born with the virus but only found out when she was in high school.

Doreen Moraa has been living with the disease for 20 years.


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September 2020


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