|Del after admission to hospital awaiting surgery. (Photo: Courtesy)|
By Kiundu Waweru
One reader, Sylvia Abwoga, wrote, “This is an informative article. I lost a sister in May this year due to the disease. I have cousins who are sicklers and in western Kenya. I wish there was a way of educating those in rural areas, and the Government to provide adequate medicines for those who cannot afford the expensive treatment.”
Akinyi from Afghanistan wrote: “Thanks for the story but this is coming late for me. I lost my dear sister to the disease and it still pains, because I never knew much about the disease. I wish I had this information earlier. I hope this will help someone else. RIP my dear sister and sorry we didn’t do much to reduce your pain.”
Most of the comments were in this vein. However, one man, Juhudi Omwanda, from New York sent a different note.
In our story, an expert explained that sickle cell, a deformity of red blood cells, can only be cured through bone marrow transplant, which is very expensive, running into millions of shillings and not available in the country.
The best bet for patients, he said, was to manage the disease by painkillers, avoiding dehydration and infections. The genetic disease causes pain, infection, and organ damage and may lead to premature death.
When the right time came for Omwanda to talk about his experience, he recounted how his son went through the advanced treatment. Before the surgery, Omwanda and his wife, Rita, signed a form exonerating the doctors operating on their son of any outcome. The doctors had warned that the operation had a 50-50 chance.
“We had moved to the US in 2007, to give Delbert, our son, a chance in life.”
Since he was born in Nairobi in November 2006, Delbert never stayed at home for more than three weeks without being rushed to hospital.
Succumb to disease