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Man shot during 2017 campaign rally slapped with Sh4.6m hospital bill

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At a first glance, one may think all is fine with David Okoth.

A closer look as he walks around, however, reveals a pale shadow of a once vibrant youth, now grounded after a stray bullet hit him in the pelvis, back in 2017, when a political meeting turned chaotic.

Okoth, 21, who hails from Nyamunda Village in Wiga Ward, Suna West Sub-County, was then an ardent supporter of Migori Governor Okoth Obado.

He was caught up in a bloody confrontation between Mr Obado’s supporters and those of Ochillo Ayacko for the Migori gubernatorial seat.

ODM leaders, led by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, were on their way to Posta Grounds for a political rally that seemed to have rubbed Mr Obado’s supporters the wrong way, resulting in a confrontation.

The team had also come to open a parallel ODM office and to campaign for Mr Ayacko when angry Obado supporters stormed the venue, pelting the rival faction with stones.

Governor Joho’s aide was shot in the ensuing melee.

Fired shots

According to Mr Okoth, security personnel guarding the politicians fired several shots into the air in an attempt to repulse the crowd when a stray bullet hit him in the left thigh.

“Chaos erupted at Posta Grounds when the governor and his supporters arrived. I was hit by a stray bullet as I scampered for safety and fell to the ground,” he told the Nation.

The bullet penetrated his pelvic joint and got stuck. Since then he has had to bear with the pain, visiting several hospitals for treatment. But the situation only seems to worsen.

Mr Okoth was rushed to Migori County Referral Hospital for treatment but the bullet was lodged so deep in a delicate position that doctors referred him to the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital.

He was later taken to Jaramogi Oginga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu for specialised treatment after X-ray scans revealed severe damage to the pelvis.

His worst nightmare came when doctors at Jaramogi Oginga Teaching and Referral Hospital revealed to him that the gunpowder had destroyed his genitals.

“I shared the shocking news with my wife but, instead, she fled back to her parents’ home. It took the intervention of a close friend, an MCA, to convince her to return,” he said.

Then came the quest for finance to enable him to get surgery at the Kenyatta National Hospital where he got admitted.

After four weeks in the wards, doctors examined his condition and recommended corrective surgery in India for Sh4.6 million.

Devastated and with nowhere to turn to, Mr Okoth says he approached Governor Obado for financial assistance.

“I approached Governor Obado who promised to cater for my treatment expenses but on the day I was scheduled for surgery at Kenyatta, the Governor’s calls were not going through. I later learnt he had been arrested by EACC detectives,” he said.

Efforts to reach Governor Obado on his position regarding Mr Okoth’s fate were fruitless as he could not be reached on phone. He also did not respond to text messages seeking his clarification on the matter.

His treatment is scheduled for this week and, with limited options, his friends have set up a WhatsApp group to mobilise funds.

His 62-year-old grandfather, Mzee Okombo Nyaguda, says the family has depleted its meagre resources while seeking treatment and is now turning to well-wishers.

“Life has been challenging for the entire family. Although unemployed, he was the breadwinner for the entire family. We have nowhere to turn to and time is due for his treatment,” he said.

“Owing to our poor background, the amount required is too big for us to raise and we are appealing to well-wishers to come to our aid.”

He feels so much pain that he even wails.

Charles Arunda, a neighbour and a close friend of Mr Okoth, told the Nation that the young man often writhes in pain during chilly weather.

“I have been closely monitoring his situation and often take him for treatment in Migori whenever he runs short of medication. During the cold weather, he feels so much pain that he even wails,” Mr Arunda said.

Mr Okoth left for treatment in India on November 3 after his grandfather sold a piece of his land.

According to Mr Okoth’s wife Mary Akinyi, the WhatsApp group contribution only yielded Sh8,000, which only catered for his flight from Kisumu to Nairobi.

“My grandfather sold part of his Shamba to carter for part of his treatment in India. We are still far much behind and anyone who can come to our aid is welcome,” Ms Akinyi told the Nation.

BY Nation.


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Health

Close friend, carrier of deadly disease

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Dog has always been mans best friend, but without responsible ownership, they are turning to I be the worst man’s enemy bet cause of rabies.

J The deadly virus spread to people from the saliva of infected animals, usually through a bite. Warm-blooded animals serve as reservoirs for rabies, with unvaccinated dogs as the main reservoir worldwide.

Florence Ndinda from Makueni county is one of those who can’t stand a dog’s presence after her two granddaughters, who she is taking care of, were bitten by her own dog, which was rabid.

She remembers vividly how two years ago one of her granddaughters, Florence Mbithe [then eight], was bitten by one of her puppies. Mbithe was playing with other children outside their house when a puppy came running to her. Before Florence could rescue Mbithe, the puppy had already bitten her.

Confused without knowing what to do, Ndinda took her granddaughter to the nearby dispensary for first aid. After receiving help, she was connected to the Makueni Rabies Surveillance team who came and took samples from that dog and the result showed it was rabid. They were also referred to Makueni Level Five hospital for Mbithe’s treatment.

“I was advised to isolate the dog for 10 days as the rest were getting the vaccine, but I didn’t. I felt that since it was a puppy it won’t harm any other person,” she says.

Since she couldn’t manage to go to Makueni hospital that same day, she had to go there the following day. While away, the same puppy attacked her youngest granddaughter Abigael Ndinda then aged four. With no Post-Exposure rabies Prophylaxis [PEP] vaccine at the hospital, she was forced to buy it from the nearby pharmacy.

It was not easy to get the required five doses per person for both her granddaughters. With a dose going for Sh950, she only managed to buy them three doses each. She also vowed to never ever keep dogs in her compound and even her neighbor’s dogs are always chased away when spotted in her compound.

“PEP is compulsory if you are bitten by a dog, cat, or another animal that is rabid or is suspected to be infected with rabies. An exposed person who has never been vaccinated against rabies should get four doses of the vaccine and another shot called Rabies Immune Globulin [RIG]. A previously vaccinated person should get two doses of the vaccine. They do not need RIG. Always, make sure you complete the dose,” says Dr Emily Mudoga, Animals Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection.

The vaccine is made up of the dead rabies virus. When it is injected into the body, the immune system immediately starts to produce antibodies to fight off the perceived infection. Multiple shots ensure the levels of antibodies remain elevated so that even if the live virus is already in your system, the antibodies will neutralise it.

Besides humans, rabid dogs attack livestock. Makueni county alone lost 300 livestock in the last five years. The number, however, is suspected to be higher since most cases go unreported.

Jane Nduku is one of the residents who lost her cow after it was attacked by a rabid dog. It took some days before she realised the cow had been bitten. She only found when she called the veterinary to report that the cow was suffering from foot and mouth disease as it couldn’t swallow anything. The veterinary confirmed otherwise.

“When the veterinary visited us, the dog that had attacked the cow had started showing rabid signs, but hadn’t gone crazy. So after taking samples and the result turned positive, we were advised to kill both the cow and the dog. That is exactly what we did,” says Nduku.

Richard Muteti, a veterinary who also doubles up as a field officer for rabies surveillance for Kenya Medical Research Institute in Makueni county, says some cases go unreported because livestock owners confuse rabies with foot-and-mouth disease, hemorrhagic septicaemia or choking.

Disease surveillance To ensure farmers are able to differentiate rabies from the above, he says they have been creating awareness about rabies and advising farmers to report if a dog attacks their animals. Because of these, reported cases of livestock being bitten by dogs have increased unlike before when people used not to report.

“At Makueni sub-county alone, we have been getting about 12 cases of dog or animal bites weekly. Since not all dog/animal bites are rabid about 20 cases turns positive annually,” says Muteti.

Currently, over 70 per cent of the county is now reporting any dog /animal bite witnessed. Muteti reveals they are targeting 90 per cent.

To make sure all bite cases have been captured at the county level, Dr Daniel Ksee, Acting Director, Veterinary Services in the county, says they are set to unveil an Integrated Bite Case Management [IBCM], an approach for rabies surveillance that directly and formally links workers in public health and veterinary sectors to assess risk of rabies among animal bite patients and biting animals, respectively.

“This approach will help us with contact tracing, and we will be able to come up with concrete data about rabies in the county. We hope this approach will be embraced by other counties,” says Ksee.

Apart from this approach, Ksee says other initiatives in place include: annaul mass dog vaccination, that have seen about 300,000 dogs vaccinated; and training the community and teachers about responsible dog ownership.

He says most farmers don’t know the importance of vaccinating their dogs. Farmers have been focusing on animals that generate some income such as cows, goats, pigs and donkeys.

“We decided to use teachers because they can easily reach the students. They have been integrating responsible dog ownership topics in their programmes and we have recorded a decrease of stray dogs across the county,” adds Ksee.

It is recommended for puppies to get the vaccination at three months for the first time, followed at nine months, and then yearly boosters. In some cases, the first vaccination can be given as early as two months, but with precaution. For adult dogs, the first vaccination should be given as soon as possible, and a local veterinarian

should be consulted.

In Kenya alone, about 2,000 people die annually because of rabies yet it is 100 per cent vaccine-preventable. The World Health Organisation says rabies is estimated to cause 59,000 human deaths annually in over 150 countries, with 95 per cent of cases occurring in Africa and Asia. Due to widespread underreporting and uncertain estimates, it is likely this is a gross underestimate of the true burden of disease.

“In Kenya, domesticated dogs are responsible for transmission of over 98 per cent of all human rabies cases. Apart from dog bites, the virus can also be transmitted when saliva enters any open wound or mucus membrane,” says Mudoga.

Although the campaign to make Kenya a rabies-free country has been running for the last 100 years, we are yet to eliminate the virus because, according to Mudoga, there is lac” political goodwill.

“Rabies vaccine has not been prioritised by counties despite that it is easier to vaccinate than to treat. The government needs to make this vaccine mandatory, put more resources for the campaign, and bring communities on board. With all that done, it will be possible to have zero human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030,” adds Mudoga.

Survival chances

Generally, it takes between 30 to 50 days for rabies symptoms to develop. They appear once the virus reaches the spinal cord or brain. However, in some cases, symptoms can appear in just 10 days or it even over a year The duration depends on factors such as location of virus entry and viral load. Initial symptoms are flu, difficulty swallowing followed by fever, a headache and vomiting.

“Currently there is no cure for raibes. If you are bitten, you should visit your doctor right away. The incubation period can be as little as five days, so don’t assume you can wait for a week to see if the animal that bit you is unwell before seeking medical attention. The chances of survival are extremely low once the patient becomes symptomatic,” adds Mudoga.

And what should one do if bitten by an animal?

M udoga says the most effective first-aid treatment against rabies is to wash and flush the wound immediately with soap and water for 10-15 minutes. If soap is not available, flushing it with water alone is also acceptable.

MANAGEMENT

• Extensive washing and local treatment of the bite wound or scratch as soon as possible after a suspected exposure.

• A course of potent and effective rabies vaccine that meets WHO standards. • The administration of rabies immunoglobulin (RIG), if indicated.

by PD.co.ke


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Health

Former TVET boss laid to rest 12 days after succumbing to COVID-19

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The former Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVET – Kenya) Director Norman Owate Wambayi was on Saturday November 21, laid to rest at his home in Kakamge county 12 days after he died due to COVID-19 related complications.

Former TVET boss Norman Owate laid to rest 12 days after succumbing to COVID-19

Norman Wambayi (in blue) inspecting water packaging at his water plant. Photo: The Standard.
Source: UGC

The former director who was 66-years-old, died on Monday, November 9, while receiving treatment at the Avenue Hospital in Kisumu.

Speaking to TUKO.co.ke, Sigalagala Polytechnic Deputy Principal Anne Malumbe who attended the burial said Owate started showing COVID-19 symptoms shortly after he travelled to Mombasa for a workshop.

“He started having COVID-19 signs on October 27. He came back and quarantined himself at his Eshisiru home in Kakamega while on medication,” explained Malumbe who is also an immediate neighbour of the deceased.

“His oxygen level started going down nd his condition detoriraited n November 5. He was taken to Avenue Hospital in Kisumu where he passed on on November 9,” she added.

He is said to have been in high spirit and even made jokes even when he was sick and his family was convinced he was going to recover from the respiratory disease.

Wambayi who also chaired on several boards of management in vocational training institutes in the western region was described as a jovial person who was always concerned with the wellbeing of his family even when he was sick.

He was also a lecture at the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) and his family also described him as a selfless and kind man.

As soon as the former TVET boss left active employment, he drilled a 45-metre deep borehole on his Kakamega farm and was supplying water to leading hotels in Kakamega town and its environs, schools, funerals and weddings.

The technocrat who believed that practical training and skills were critical in achieving Vision 2030 and helping Kenya become a middle income earning country.

He ventured into the business to demonstrate that you one did not need a white-collar job to lead a comfortable life.

Wambayi, who had an illustrious career and lived his life to the fullest has left behind three widows, eight children and several grandchildren.

by Tuko.co.ke


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Health

Help put a smile on Wanjiru this Xmas, she is deaf and mute with no place to call home

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BY MONICA KIMANI

Hello friends!
The young girl whose photo appears above is Wanjiru. She and her family will soon have no place to call home. The family has been forced to vacate the temporary home they occupied.

Wanjiru is deaf and mute and her primary caretaker is her mother who is a small-scale subsistence farmer in central Kenya and her father is also unemployed.

This Christmas, we would like to give Wanjiru the gift of a place to call home and send her to a school so she can enhance her sign language skills and learn trade skills to help her in the future.

Please consider giving up a meal or cup of coffee ($10) or whatever you can to make this a reality and a perfect Christmas gift for Wanjiru and her family.

To learn more n how you can help, please call Monica Kimani @ +1 678-485-6228. Kidogo kidogo hujaza kibaba.

Please share with others if you can.

CashApp – $MonicaNKimani (678-485-6228)

Zelle – 678-485-6228

Mpesa – 254-722-414270


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