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.  12 to 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

5 Kenyan Holiday Destinations in Turkana and Rift Valley

Much local holiday travel in Kenya involves going to the Coast. If not the Coast, most holidayers end up in Nanyuki or Naivasha. But what if you wanted to go somewhere else, what are the alternatives?  An interesting itinerary would be Lake Turkana, through the Kerio Valley and Kerio Escarpment. This is a trip doable both by public transport or as a self-drive. Given the distance, it takes at least 2 days by road - though it's manageable in one day if you have 2 drivers.  However, it would be more fun if you explored different destinations on your way up and back, which I'll highlight below.  1. Iten - Kerio Valley and Kerio Escarpment The Kerio Valley is a breathtaking valley within the Rift Valley, with the Elgeyo/ Kerio Escarpment forming one boundary of the Rift Valley and the Tugen Hills forming the other. The Tugen Hills are within the Rift Valley and one of the oldest features on the planet. The Kerio River flows in between falling over the esca

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

Why we loved Mixcrate and Where to next?

With Mixcrate gone, lovers of music either have to pony up a fee for a variety of streaming services or head over to YouTube There are two types of music listeners: those who listen by artist or by album, and those who listen by top hits. The second lot of us do not care much about what other music made it to an album besides the top 2 hits. Mixcrate served the second lot of us very well. You could search for a song title or an artist, and you would have dozens of DJ mixes to choose from which contained more than the one hit you searched for. Listening to music on Mixcrate also meant that once you settled into a mix, you had uninterrupted music for the next one hour.