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How coast slum flattened the curve



When Kenya confirmed the first Covid-19 case on March 13, everyone was shocked.

However, the raft of containment measures announced by the Ministry of Health were not immediately adhered to in many parts of the country.

Many people felt that the disease would not spread beyond Nairobi.

Furthermore, there were widespread – if misleading- rumours that there was no Covid-19 in the country.

Bangladesh slum in Jomvu sub-county, the Mombasa County, was no exception. The locals were so steeped in cynicism that not even after the first case was announced in Mombasa did they start taking Covid-19 rules seriously.

Residents of Bangladesh slum in Mombasa fetch free water supplied to them by Mombasa Cement in April.

The tide, however, turned when Mombasa was declared a hotspot for the coronavirus.

Soon, the county became the epicentre of the pandemic in the country and was among the devolved units that had to be placed on partial lockdown to curb the spread of the viral disease.

The reality sank in as residents of Bangladesh, the largest slum in the country, came face to face with cases of relatives and friends who had contracted the disease, as others buried their loved ones due to the disease.

This prompted awareness campaigns across the region that led the more than 20,000 Bangladesh residents to ensure compulsory compliance to hand hygiene practices at all public places to guard themselves against the dangerous virus, which was spreading fast.

Mercifully, six months later, their efforts have borne fruit and the settlement seems to have managed to beat the virus.

On Tuesday, Bangladesh was the only informal settlement that did not report any new coronavirus case in Mombasa.

The county, which is finally flattening the curve, has over 2,000 coronavirus cases, with more than 60 fatalities.

Mvita remains the hotspot in the entire Coast region.

So, how did Bangladesh do it?

At all entry and exit points to Bangladesh, more than 20 hand-washing stations have been installed. The centres are manned by volunteers.

A child washes hands at a point set up at Bangladesh sports grounds. The residents have a strict protocol requiring everyone to wash their hands before they enter or exit the village in Jomvu sub-county.Winnie Atieno | Nation Media Group

Both the visitors and the residents are required to strictly adhere to the hand-washing protocol before they enter the small poverty-stricken village.

“We have free sanitisers and face masks. We also supply the residents with free water using our bowsers,” said Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) Coast region programme coordinator Joseph Oluoch.

Shofco also supplies free soap.

Mr Oluoch said the residents are “religious hand-washers”.

Shofco has been training the youth, persons living with disabilities and women in the area on how to make soap, sanitisers and face masks, which are later given out to the villagers.

Winnie Atieno | Nation Media Group

“We have not experienced many coronavirus cases in the slums, except for Muoroto in Tudor, where we had two cases. This is because donors are investing in wash programmes in the slums. We have also invested a lot in hygiene programmes in all the informal settlements,” said outgoing county Public Health chief officer Aisha Abubakar.

Ms Abubakar observed that, as a result, even as the rains continue to pound the county, Mombasa has not reported any cholera cases in the slums, which are usually the major hotspots.

She said the county’s Health department has also been conducting community health sensitisation programmes and door-to-door hygiene clinics.

Governor Hassan Joho also urged the residents to continue observing the coronavirus safety guidelines.

“Coronavirus is still real. I want to remind you of the importance of adhering to the safety guidelines. Wear a face mask, maintain social distance and wash your hands to fight the virus. We must eradicate this disease in Mombasa. We have made strides but we are not off the hook yet,” insisted Mr Joho.

Locals also weighed in on the matter.

“Our children now know the importance of hand-washing. We used to experience diarrhoea cases but nowadays we don’t have any,” said Ms Rachael Kanini, a Bangladesh resident.

Mr Dan Ouma, who operates hand-washing facilities in Bangladesh, says all visitors to the slum are taken through the hand-washing protocol and given a free face mask before being allowed into the village.

“We are fighting for survival. Our children are our police; they report any suspicious incidents and those who refuse to wash their hands. But so far everyone has been compliant,” said the health volunteer.

He lauded the community policing team for helping with contact tracing


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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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