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Kenya conducts first rare heart transplant



By Judith Gicobi

An 83-year-old patient in Nairobi had a unique heart valve transplant process successfully done without surgery.

In Kenya and the area, the transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) was unique on its own.

The two-hour treatment involved ten experts and cost Sh7 million at Mediheal Hospital in Nairobi. It was done on Fr Brambilla Luigi Carlo, who had been having trouble breathing when climbing stairs or riding his bike.

He was diagnosed with significant Aortic Stenosis due to calcification and blockage in a heart valve. The aortic valve degenerates and does not open correctly as a result of the disorder.

Consequently, the constricted valve makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood. Chest pain and difficulty breathing are two of the signs.

“I was a bit worried. I could not do my normal activities without running short of breath,” said Fr Brambilla, a Catholic priest in Nairobi. “I even collapsed at some point but I am happy these doctors will solve my problem. They tell me that after this I will be 20 years younger.”

Dizzy spells happen as a consequence of the disorder, which can escalate to collapse. The additional force necessary to circulate blood puts a strain on the cardiac muscle, which can result in fluid in the lungs, swollen ankles, and finally cardiac muscle weakness. Aortic stenosis begins to deteriorate if left untreated.

According to Dr Vijaysinh Patil, an interventional cardiologist and the primary consultant, Fr Brambilla’s heart valve was completely obstructed following an echocardiogram. Because “there is a 50 per cent mortality in five years.” the clogged heart valve had to be substituted with a synthetic one.

Dr. Patil said that there are two possibilities for the operation.

He went on to say that because of the patient’s age, “we offered him percutaneous transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR/TAVI) treatment. He was not willing for open heart surgery because of the high risk.”

Being the first in Sub-Saharan Africa entailed overcoming numerous obstacles, such as practicalities of obtaining components such as the heart valve.

The surgery was performed with conscious sedation and local anesthetic. The procedure entailed putting a long tube into the right groin and “implanting the balloon-expandable aortic valve mounted on balloon navigator system.

Stroke, the use of a permanent pacemaker, annular tear, groin bleeding, and occasionally  urgent open-heart surgery are all risks associated with the TAVI technique, which is mainly performed on patients who are too old to have surgery.

Dr. Patil says that urgent open-heart surgery occurs in less than 1% of patients. “We were fortunate that none of these things happened to this patient.”

Fr Brambilla was able to walk six hours later, according to him, and will be monitored for two days before being released.

The success of the unusual treatment, according to Dr. Patil, proves that local doctors have what it takes to cure such conditions without having to travel out of the nation for expensive medical care.


Kenyans stranded as diplomatic mission in Sudan closes



By Wanja Waweru

The Kenyan diplomatic office was closed on Sunday, leaving Kenyan residents left in the civil war-torn Sudan with an unknown future.

The return of warfare in Sudan, which has been specifically targeting diplomatic posts, was blamed for the closure, which was announced by Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing’Oei.

“The safety of our diplomatic officials is paramount, and we have been receiving disturbing reports of armed groups targeting diplomatic personnel in Khartoum, Sudan. As a result, the Kenya Mission in Khartoum, which had previously remained open to facilitate the evacuation of Kenyans, is now closed,” stated Sing’Oei

Alfred Mutua, the cabinet secretary for foreign affairs, had already told the country in April that plans were in place to evacuate Kenyans if the situation in Sudan worsened. At the time, it was thought that there were around 3,000 Kenyans living in Sudan.

Over 900 Kenyans were flown out of Sudan by the government in coordination with national airlines.

But now that the diplomatic post has been shut down, it’s unclear what will happen to the remaining Kenyans who are still in Sudan. The number of Kenyans still living in the war-torn nation and the arrangements for their departure have not yet been disclosed by the government in a statement.

There are no indicators that the violence in Sudan will end. Only a few days earlier, rockets in Khartoum struck a market, killing 18 people and injuring hundreds more leaving more than 100 injured.

The continued fighting between military troops has prevented the US and Saudi Arabia from mediating peace talks and humanitarian assistance.

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I did not raise him – Facebook Rapist’s mother speaks



Thabo Bester’s mother, Maria Mabaso, recently admitted that she didn’t spend much time with her son while he was growing up. Thabo Bester is also referred to as the “Facebook rapist” and is the most sought criminal in South Africa.

Mabaso claimed in an interview with South Africa’s Eye Witness News that she had to leave her son in the care of his grandmother when he was just a year old since she was a single parent who worked nonstop.

Over time, this caused the bond between Mabaso and her mother to deteriorate.

“He was entrusted into the care of his grandmother at the age of one due to her being a single parent and having to constantly work,” Ms Mabaso told South Africa’s Eye Witness News.

She said this resulted in the relationship between her and her mother worsening over the years.

“At the end of the day, my mother shouted at me every day. She pushed me away. When she pushed me away, I said ‘No, I will sit by my place and I am not going there ever again,” she was quoted as saying.

Ms. Mabaso disclosed that the mother’s illness and subsequent death occurred when the son was in his teen years, at which point she made fruitless attempts to move and establish contact with her son.

Speaking to reporters about the arrest of the couple, who have been on the run since it was discovered that Mr. Bester had escaped from a privately run prison in Bloemfontein in March 2023, Mr. Cele said they had also been detained along with a Mozambican man named Mr. Zakaria Alberto.

“They were arrested with multiple passports in their possession. None of the passports were stamped,” he said in the press conference.

Mr Bester was found with documents that identified him as Mr Tommy William Kelly, an American citizen while Dr Magudumana had documentation that identified her as Martha Patience Mmerika Nitshini.

The passports, according to the South African government, which had received details from Tanzania, where the trio was nabbed, also showed that Mr Bester had more pseudonyms, further adding to the case’s complexity.

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Kenya’s Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua loses Twitter’s Blue tick



United States (US) social networking giant, Twitter, has removed the blue verification badge from Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s account.

Gachagua who has over 500,000 followers on Twitter lost his blue tick on Sunday.

The blue verification badge is notably found on senior government officials, journalists or public figures.

The badge usually indicates that an account holder is a notable person in society, for instance, a senior government official, a journalist or a public figure. It was immediately established why the second in command lost the badge, but it is suspected due to the ongoing policy update, which among others, requires a monthly subscription.

Twitter announced that it will start facing out its legacy blue badges on April 1, 2023.

This follows the platform’s announcement last year, that users will now pay a monthly fee under Twitter Blue to have the badge (blue checkmark).

“On April 1st, we will begin winding down our legacy verified program and removing legacy verified checkmarks,” Twitter said on Friday.

Going forward, Twitter users who want the verification mark will now have to reapply under Twitter Blue.

The changes came about after Elon Musk bought the company.

Under Twitter Blue, subscribers will enjoy priorities in replies, mentions and searches, which Musk said was essential to defeat spam/scams.

They will also be able to post long videos and audio and get half as many adverts.

“There will also be a secondary tag below the name for someone who is a public figure, which is already the case for politicians,” Musk said.

Twitter’s verification which is denoted by a blue check next to the name of the user’s handle, was launched in 2009. This was three years after the launch of the site.

According to the Independent, it was first introduced after baseball legend Tony La Russa filed a lawsuit against Twitter in 2009 over an impersonator.

The idea of verification was that it could prove the identity of a user.

Musk announced a subscription fee of Sh972 ($8) per month for one to get the verification.

The announcement came after the world’s second wealthiest man took sole control of the social media giant in a contentious $44 billion deal (KSh 5.8 trillion). Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,” he tweeted, in reference to the platform’s famous blue checkmark that signals a verified, authentic account.

The new plan’s pricing would be adjusted by country “proportionate to purchasing power parity,” Musk added in the replies to his original tweet, and would also include “priority” in replying to and searching posts, which he called “essential to defeat spam/scam.”

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s Twitter account without the verification blue badge.

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