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Kuria’s tragic warm mat turns focus on heat therapy



A company that Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said sold him a warm mat that burnt his feet has defended its product, even as a lobby group piled pressure to regulate heat therapy.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) stepped up the campaign for enactment of the Kenya Food and Drug Authority (KFDA) Bill to reform the regulation of health products and technologies.

Mr Kuria’s hospitalisation after botched heat therapy has evoked conflicting opinions online and thrown the spotlight on unregulated medical products.

For a fortnight now, Karen Hospital has teemed with politicians visiting their colleague, who is bedridden after his treatment went awry.

The towering parliamentarian told Citizen TV that he felt shortchanged after a gadget he acquired from a friend made his feet ‘explode’. He was later confirmed to have had third degree burns and had to undergo surgery.

In his words, “I was trying to cure a problem by introducing a killer solution.”

Mr Kuria now says that he has sought a ministerial statement in Parliament from Cabinet secretaries for Trade and Industry, and for Health to understand the extent of the proliferation of unregulated products in Kenya.

“All medical appliances and devices are supposed to be applied only from a hospital or approved health facilities. It is something that we sometimes think that the government is too harsh (about), but see the effect. We need to have a total clampdown,” he said in the TV interview.

“I thought I would use my case to save other people that are using products outside (hospitals) that it is extremely dangerous.”

The politician also alleged that the gadget, which the Nation has learnt is called a warm mat, is not approved by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

The Nation reached out to Ceragem, the company that Mr Kuria said his friend acquired the mat from.

While the legislator said on TV that the warm mat cost him Sh250,000, Martin Mulwa, Ceragem’s communication’s director, told the Nation that Mr Kuria exaggerated the price.

“Moses Kuria did not buy the warm mat from us. He bought it from his friend. The warm mat retails at Sh55,000 and not the Sh250,000 that he said on live TV,” Mr Mulwa said.

Ceragem has sold its products in Kenya for the past 13 years, he said, and to the best of their knowledge, this is the first adverse event they have heard about.

But the company insists they are not sure whether the product Mr Kuria used is theirs, as he did not personally acquire it from them.

Ceragem yesterday shared with the Nation three certificates of conformity, with the Kenya Bureau of Standards logo on them to show that the product is approved for use in Kenya.

Two electromagnetic test reports from Korea, where the product is manufactured, also show that Ceragem passed its test.

Mr Mulwa told the Nation that people with pre-existing conditions are not supposed to use some of Ceragem’s products, such as the warm mat.

“People with diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage that occurs in people with diabetes), those with heart conditions or any nerve-related problems are advised against using the mats. In fact, there are people who are completely prohibited from using it, such as pregnant women and those with a hole in the heart,” he explained.

“I think that is why it reacted with the MP.”

The warm mat, Mr Mulwa said, is not a medical product and the company that sells it is not a hospital. He also said that it is not an electric blanket as most netizens have described it.

Though it is not a medical product, Ceragem Kenya, on its website, contains testimonials from customers who describe it as one with “life-changing results of revitalizing the body and rejuvenating the health”.

The gazetted Kenya Food and Drug Authority (KFDA) Bill defines a medical device as any “material, instrument, apparatus or contrivance (gadget) whether radiation omitting or not, including parts and accessories thereof, manufactured, sold or represented for use in the diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, mitigation or prevention of any disease disorder or any abnormal physical state or disability of the symptoms thereof, in humans or animals but does not include medicines”.

While heat therapy is gaining popularity, especially in Kenya’s urban areas, little is known about its effect on people’s bodies, considering most of the equipment used applies infrared rays, which use radiation.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK), in a press statement, empathised with Mr Kuria for using what they called an “unregulated product” but asked Parliament to consider the group’s views on the KFDA Bill.

PSK chief executive Daniella Munene insisted that the KFDA Bill, which seeks to overhaul the regulation of health products and technologies, needs to be amended.

On Mr Kuria’s botched heat therapy, she said: “Those are borderline products, which means that they are not clear whether they are for medical use or for just consumer use.”

“In general, all medical devices, medicines and health technologies should come under the regulation of one body and this body should be called the medicine and health products authority,” she added.

Dr Munene said Kenya needs a bill that is dedicated to medical products, separate from food.

“We gave Parliament our views and our memorandum but they have not adopted it. We ask that the body should not be regulating ordinary food but medical products. If it is food, let it be the ones used for treatment, like injectable vitamins, multivitamins or total parenteral nutrition,” she said.

“We also want to rename the bill to the Medicine and Health Products Bill.”


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Eric Omondi denies Jacque Maribe’s son in new pregnancy reveal



By Wanja Waweru

Eric Omondi, an award-winning comedian and creator of digital entertainment, and Lynne, a social media influencer and commercial model, have revealed they are expecting a child.

The pair enthusiastically announced the news in a combined Instagram post. Lynne can be seen donning a yellow two-piece costume in the images that have been released, proudly displaying her growing baby belly.

Eric, who was completely covered in black, stands protectively behind her and gently strokes the lump.

In her third trimester, Lynne undoubtedly looks pregnant. Eric expressed his excitement at having his own flesh and blood in the caption of the photo, which is odd given that he shares a child with Jackie Maribe, a former media celebrity.

Eric continued by equating himself with Sarah from the Bible, who’d It has taken me 41 years but finally God has blessed me with my own,” started the entertainer excitedly.

He went on to add, “The Fruit of my loins! I feel like Sarah of Abraham of the Bible, she waited all her life for a child of her own.

Thank you baby for making me a father❤❤🙏🙏🥰🥰. And to God thank you for returning our baby to us,” the last of his post read.

It has taken me 41 years but finally God has blessed me with my own,” started the entertainer excitedly.

Seven months ago, Lynne tragically miscarried at barely eight weeks of pregnancy, and Eric and his girlfriend announced they had lost their first child.

The medical professionals there did everything they could to save the little angel, but it was in vain, as Eric refers to the night as the longest night of his life.

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Mwalimu Rachel: Managing Sailors Gang my biggest regret!



By Wanja Waweru

The long-running feud between oppular radio host Rachel Muthoni Njeru, often known as Mwalimu and the gengetone boy band Sailors Gang has been being brought up again, with Rachel stating that managing the group is one of her greatest regrets.

The social media influencer shared this in an interesting conversation she had on her official YouTube channel with a friend named Monicah Wairimu Mwariri.

“What is your biggest regret? Like the one thing you say if I could have done differently I would have gotten different/ better results as Mwalimu Rachel?”

Monicah who was acting as the moderator of that specific episode posed the question to Rachel.

“Managing… managing Sailors Gang!” replied the NRG radio presenter without a second thought.

She continued by saying that interacting with the group had been such a challenge that it had put her in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

“Wueh! Wewe ushawahi lala cell (have you ever spent a night in jail)?” Rachel asked the host to which she replied she’d never and doesn’t even ever wish to encounter such a moment.

Mwalimu Rachel said that while she was in charge of the gengetone male group, she had spent a night in a police cell.

Mimi nililala cell, like wueh…” Rachel revealed.

Sharing a snippet of the interview with her over 403k Instagram followers Rachel wrote, “Cell nayo nililala ni ukweli… wueh! That was a DAAARK time for me. It’s okay though… Time for EVERYONE to hear my story from ME.”

She stated in another post that the reason she was finally speaking about it was so that the suffering she had endured would not be in vain.

“Hopefully my experience will educate other managers as well as caution artists against some things,” Mwalimu Rachel’s post read.

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US announces changes to student visa application process



US State Department has revealed changes in policy that will impact foreign students entering the US.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced during the National Association of other Student Advisers (NAFSA) in Washington that they had streamlined the visa application process for students from other nations, including Kenya, who want to pursue higher education overseas.

According to him, applicants won’t need to participate in an interview to complete their application.

This adjustment is a significant deviation from the standard procedures, which at first required an interview.

The Department also extended the window in which a Visa application may be submitted, bringing it from 120 days to a full year.

Blinken stressed the significance of forging alliances with other nations when discussing visa reforms in order to provide students with additional opportunities  options to study abroad.

He applauded organizations like NAFSA for helping students seize opportunities and for organizing student exchanges.

“At the State Department, we are working to expand international education. After the acute phase of the pandemic ended, more and more international students began applying to study in the US again. We took steps to streamline our visa process and make it easier for students to apply,” he said.

M Square Media’s CEO, Raghwa Gopal, applauded the US government for taking action to expand international study programs. Gopal asserted that by giving students the skills they would need for future international engagements, the short-term educational courses would be advantageous to the students.

Foreign students can enter a recognized college, university, high school, or other educational program in the US under the academic student program.

Foreign students must be admitted by a school that has received formal US government recognition, and the program must result in a certification, certificate, or degree.

After a popular outcry, the deadline for the hike in worldwide visa fees was postponed from the originally announced date of May 30 to June 17; some applicants will now have to pay up to Sh42,000 to obtain the travel document.

Business and tourist visas (category B1/B2S), student visas (F), and exchange visitor visas (J) are the categories that would see a rise, going from Sh21,800 ($160) to Sh25,206 ($185) visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will cost Sh27,941 ($205) from Sh25,897 ($190).

The US Embassy in Nairobi stated that they acknowledge the critical role that international travel plays in the US economy and pointed out that President Joe Biden’s foreign policy places a high priority on granting visas, particularly for work and tourism. They insisted that the fees are only intended to cover the costs of providing the consular services.

The cost of non-immigrant visas hasn’t gone up since 2014, so this is a big deal.

Following the suspension of the process in 2020 as part of the safety measures established at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak, the embassy has been dealing with a massive backlog of visa interviews.

The Embassy shortened the wait time for visa interviews for Kenyan visitors last month and permitted renewal of some categories without going through an interview physical appointments.

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