In the quiet villages of Kajulu ward in Kisumu East sub-county, Kisumu county residents are mourning the death of relatives, who have succumbed to Covid-19 related complications.
Grace Adwar, a Fourth Year student at Maseno University, is yet to come to terms with the death of her parents, suspected to have occurred from Covid-19 complications. Her mother, Leah Adwar, 36, collapsed as she headed to the toilet. She later died on the way to a nearby hospital.
Grace, the only surviving member of the family vividly recalls the events leading to the death of her parents in a span of one week. “On the fateful day of May 16, mum woke up very well and was in a jovial mood. She even asked me to make tea as we prepared for the day’s activities,” she recalls.
Prior to her death, the deceased and her husband, Isaac Adwar, 49, were admitted at St Consolata Hospital in Kajulu where doctors said they were suffering from malaria.
Grace’s mother responded well to treatment and was discharged. At the time of her mother’s death, her father was still admitted. Following Leah’s death, Adwar was discharged to lead the burial arrangements but his condition worsened and was readmitted at the Kisumu County Hospital.
He was later transferred to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital where he died on May 23. Grace’s parents were both buried on June 4.
“Doctors at St Consolata Hospital said my parents had malaria but their sudden deaths have left many questions,” says Grace.
Few miles away at Kadero village, the memory of the late Ibrahim Omollo’s demise is still fresh among family members.
He was buried last Saturday after losing the battle to Covid complications at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital’s isolation centre.
His son, George Omondi, who took him to the hospital, says the family could not believe their father was no more, after ailing for just a few days. “ We did not expect that our dad would die at this early age. We prayed and fasted for three days for his recovery but unfortunately our prayers went unanswered when he lost the battle,” Omondi recalled.
He says his 70-year-old father developed Covid symptoms and was rushed to the facility for treatment but he did not make it.
Initially, Omondi says the old man showed signs of improvement before his condition deteriorated.
“Tests were conducted and the results came out positive. This necessitated his admission. After a while, his condition worsened and he was transferred to an isolation ward where he lost it,” said Omondi.
“We are really saddened by our father’s loss. He was a strong believer in God,” adds Omondi. In the neighbouring Rapogi village, another family is yet to come to terms with the death of their kin, who is also suspected to have died of Coronavirus. Gordon Okumu, 66, died on May 24 and was buried three days later.
Sheril Awuor, 22, who was taking care of the deceased, says his death came too soon and took them by surprise. “My uncle was coughing too much before he died. As his condition deteriorated, he also lost strength.
His death was linked to Covid, which is said to have killed many people here in Kajulu,” says Awuor.
Awuor points out that Kajulu area has witnessed many reported cases of people dying from Corona complications.
And at Guba village, family members, relatives and friends of Maureen Mwalo, 28, are racing against time to raise funds for her burial arrangements in compliance with county Covid-19 regulations requiring that bodies be interred within 72 hours
of confirmation of death.
The deceased is believed to have died of Covid-19 complications. Grace, Odhiambo and Awuor are just but among the many residents of Kajulu, who have lost their loved ones to Covid-19. Others believed to have died of Corona-related deaths include Bishop Tobias Gundo, 65, of Nyagrongo village and Dickson Owino, 70, who hailed from Rapogi village.
Villagers said cases of Covid related deaths have risen in the area in the recent days. “The number of deaths related to Corona are unprecedented, people are dying daily and are hurriedly being buried,” said Kennedy Odero, a resident.
Former Kisumu East MP Gor Sungu blamed the rising infections, especially in Kajulu area to laxity by Government authorities to promptly enforce measures to control community spread.
Sungu claimed the county and Ministry of Health Covid-19 surveillance teams failed to control the spread in the area and entire lake region, particularly when the Indian variant was reported in Kibos area.
“The authorities did not take appropriate action on the basics of public health; isolation of the people who travelled from India and those who tested positive for the India variant, immediate contact tracing, identifying and isolating contacts with workers at Kibos, cordoning off Kibos factory and environs to be able to isolate, test and treat promptly all the people infected,” he said.
Sungu continued: “Instead they allowed the disease to spread freely across the whole Kajulu and Kisumu East, which is the main catchment for Kibos factory workers.”