Skip to main content

State of Health in Kenya; Lessons from Death of Friends

Slightly more than a month ago, I attended the funeral of one Anthony Munyao Kamwe. Anthony Munyao Kamwe  was your average university student , in his early twenties, and with a bright future ahead of  him. His life was cut short by stomach cancer.

His burial was at his home,  inside the Kitui National Reserve, a dry area littered by baobab trees hundreds of years old;  an area where portions of the forest are still intact, despite the harsh weather. The area is a 2 hour earthen road drive from Kitui town, which itself is a 2 hour drive from Nairobi.

His death provided us with 2 important lessons.

First is the state of health care in the country. Anthony Munyao was the second friend I lost to health complicated matters in an year, the first been Sylvia, a beautiful girl who succumbed to Kidney failure. Anthony Munyao was diagnosed with ulcers while in high school which was about 7 years ago. He was treated for ulcers , a condition which kept recurring time and again. About 2 weeks before he died, his condition deteriorated, and he was taken to Kenyatta National Hospital for further diagnosis. There they discovered that he had stomach cancer, which had advanced over time to an incurable state.  He had been misdiagnosed with ulcers all that time he was been treated for ulcers.

Ironically,  one week after we buried him, the Daily Nation published an article about the anti-carcinogenic qualities of some fruits called “matomoko”. The fruits grow in abundance in Kitui district.

Back to  Sylvia, she seemed a healthy girl until she took a trip to Kisumu for a camp in 2007. She enjoyed the camp, other than for swelling of her arms, legs and face. She had experienced such swellings before especially after travelling, and she thought they were caused  by the travelling. After the camp, she went for a medical check up. There she was diagnosed with kidney failure.

She underwent several dialysis sessions, and was due for a transplant before she passed away in 2008.

This brings us to the state of the medical sector in the country. Doctors are rare, expensive and burdened. Hospitals are under staffed and technologically handicapped in terms of medical equipment. This has resulted in a situation where we have many clinics and dispensaries manned by clinical officers. Here patients are treated for symptoms and common ailments. Many patients suffering from curable conditions are misdiagnosed  for other ailments while undergoing treatment at this hospitals and health units. By the time correct diagnosis is done, they are usually on their death bed.

To stop the loss of young people to search ailments, we need a lot of investment in the health sector. Apart from the government  building new hospitals, we need to further improve the health policy by proper training of more personnel and better equipping of existing health facilities.

The second lesson I learnt from Anthony Munyao's death was to do with his schooling. Anthony Munyao came from an impoverished area, and went for secondary education at Starehe Boys Centre and School. He was a sponsored student, and he was able to complete his education and proceed to university due to financial support from sponsors. At his funeral, the speakers pointed out that less than 5 people from the area have attended university education.

The role of Starehe Boys Centre and School in securing the education of many less privileged schools is quite critical in our Kenya. Such institutions have helped many Kenyans achieve their dreams, and helped improve the welfare of their families. Their importance in their society should not ignored.

Help improve and make affordable the health and education sectors in the Country. We should not loose more friends.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Nairobi's Top 4 Texas Brisket Places Reviewed and Ranked

Brisket on a bed of roast vegetables with barbecue sauce at Texas Brisket, Kikuyu  This review has been updated after a number of you suggested I try the brisket at County2County.  What's the best place to have Brisket in Nairobi? What's even brisket?  Brisket is one of the toughest cuts in a cow, from around the belly. It is so tough that it has to be smoked for about 16 hours to tenderise. But that there, is the catch.  16 hours later, it is the most flavourful and softest cut you will ever have. So full of flavour and so soft you can pick it apart with your fingers.  However, due to the long cooking time involved, only a few places offer brisket in Nairobi.  The best so far is Texas Brisket which is located within Kikuyu Railway station.  They do the meat for a proper 16 hours, and will usually have a fatty or non-fatty portion. The fatty portions are more tasty. A 500 gram serving goes for KSh. 900 and a 1 KG order comes with a serving of free fries. Their brisket has a wel

Beers in Kenya: A sober opinion

Note: This is a dated post and has since been mostly passed by events. SAB Miller beers including Castle and Peroni are no longer widely available in Kenya after their exist. Sirville Brewery was bought out by Brew Bistro before being permanently shut in a tax dispute. Kenya is a land of milk, honey, beaches and taxes. I have penned, or is typed, a newer post here .  Peroni - One of the best beers in Kenya. Did a taste of canned and bottled Italian, and bottled Tanzanian I like the tangy flavour and body in Tanzanian Peroni. The can is close. Heineken drinkers will like the Italian one.  I have had a short beer swigging stint in my life. It has however been long enough for me to share my opinion of Kenyan beer. Interestingly, over the course of sharing such opinions with other drunkards connoisseurs,  I have found that we all have different views as to what beer is the best, which one makes you too drunk, or which one gives one free, extra hangover for every hangover you get

The bitter story of the downfall of Mumias Sugar company

A spoonful of sugar, but for who? ( Image: Carol Wallis on Flickr ) Have you heard the bitter story of Mumias Sugar? Regarded by many as Kenya's most successful sugar miller, Mumias Sugar Company was a disaster waiting to happen. Many pointed out how Mumias Sugar Company was a fortress in the wreck that is Kenya's sugar industry, only unaware that it was just a matter of time. As the old wise men said, "Ukiona cha mwenzako cha nyolewa, tia chako maji". The proverb means that if you see your neighbour's head getting shaved, your head will soon be undergoing the same - you'd therefore better wet your head for a smoother shave, otherwise you will be forced to undergo a painful, dry, shave. But what ails Kenya's sugar industry? The Kenya sugar industry is under legal siege. The typical Kenyan issue of coming up with laws to tackle a problem is evident here. Many of Kenya's sugar factories are owned by the government, and have slowly decline

Heineken 0.0 Best Alcohol Free Beer

What if you wanted to drink a beer, but without getting drunk? Say, you don’t drink alcohol, or for one reason or another, you are off alcohol. Or perhaps it’s a working day, and you would like to have a cold one in the middle of the day but without all negative effects. Well, you could. Welcome to the world of Alcohol-free beer.  Over the last few days, I’ve been enjoying some Heineken 0.0 rather than the typical beers. Now, Heineken 0.0 is a beer, in the malt lager style as the standard Heineken, the only difference being that all the alcohol has been removed - it contains less than 0.03% alcohol, which counts as safe enough even for those who are pregnant or affected by alcohol, according to Heineken. It smells very close to a Heineken, tastes close to a Heineken, and you even keep taking a piss like you would when drinking a Heineken - but you never get drunk.  How do they remove all the alcohol? From my research, they brew a standard Heineken beer as normal, then use some form

Counterfeit alcohol hits Nairobi

Counterfeit The Famous Grouse    bought at a shop along Nairobi's Dubois road, note the packaging. Dishonest dealers in Kenya are now repackaging various alcohols and selling them off to unsuspecting buyers. The scam appears to target a broad range of popular spirits, including Smirnoff Vodka and The Famous Grouse Whiskey. Various residents have reported that the drinks are sold in shops in down-town Nairobi and cheap clubs. Popular drinks are either substituted with similar looking forms of alcohol or blended with them. Vodka is substituted with chang'aa , a local moonshine drink while brandies are used to dilute, or wholly sold off as more expensive whiskies. There is suspicion that some of the alcohol used in this drinks is diluted industrial alcohol. Industrial alcohol is normally cleared, with tricks such as food colouring and perfume deployed to have the counterfeit alcohol look like the genuine one. The syndicate appears to be recycling bottles which are colle