Mama Sarah Obama’s family has ruled out Covid-19 as the cause of her death on Monday morning.
The family issued the clarification following speculation about what she died of at a time when the country is fighting a third wave of more severe Covid-19 infections.
The speculation came after two men dressed in hazmat suits and three medical officers wheeled the body into a ward at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu County at about 7am.
They then disinfected the whole of Ward 7, spraying every corner and object in the small room where the body was kept.
It was not until 10 am that family and friends were allowed to view it.
Dr George Rae, the hospital’s chief executive officer, said Mama Sarah was referred from Sagam Hospital and taken to the intensive care unit.
“Mama Sarah died of a chest infection. We tried our best to manage her condition. She had already started improving when she died at 4.45am,” said Dr Rae.
“She was strong but her age was a compromising factor. Even a simple flu would have led to her death.”
Sheikh Musa Ismail of the Kisumu Muslim Association, who spoke on behalf of the family, added that medics from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) carried out Covid-19 tests on Sunday evening.
“They came out negative so we can comfortably rule out that she succumbed to the virus,” said Sheikh Musa.
The cleric said Mama Sarah will be buried in Kogelo, Siaya County, before midday on Tuesday.
“According to Islam, the body should be buried on the same day, but we have allowed the family to bury her on Tuesday to allow other close family members from far-flung areas to attend the burial,” said Sheikh Musa.
Present at the hospital were Mama Sarah’s only surviving sister, Mwanahawa Abdallah, her son Said Obama, and her grandson, Malik Obama.
Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o and his wife, Dorothy, were also there to view the body, which was later transported to Kogelo.