They were laid to rest together: When Covid snatches two brothers


What started as a routine medical check-up has turned into double tragedy for a family in Mumias West Constituency.

On June 19, Peter Wesa Maloba, 69, took his brother Wilson Wesa Washuma, 84, to hospital for a medical check-up after he fell off a bicycle.

Two weeks later, both brothers were dead, only five days apart.

“They were so close, it is not surprising that this week, they were laid to rest together,” said a close relative moment after the brothers were buried at Iranda village on July 20.

According to the family, the two brothers succumbed to Covid-19 days after they contracted the disease in Nairobi.

Enos Namayi, their nephew, said Washuma was generally in good health until the bicycle accident.

The family made arrangements for the elderly man to get specialised treatment at St Peter’s Hospital in Thika, where he underwent a successful hip replacement procedure.

Maloba, who resides in Nairobi, took it upon himself to take care of his elder brother during his medical visit in the city.

After undergoing treatment and being observed closely at the hospital, Washuma was given a clean bill of health and discharged on June 20.

The younger brother insisted that Washuma stays with him in Nairobi for at least two weeks before travelling back upcountry, a suggestion the latter agreed to and even called his wife to inform her about it.

According to Namayi, the brothers fell sick about the same time.

“My younger uncle wanted to host his elder brother in Nairobi so that he (Washuma) could have enough rest and heal properly before travelling. Unfortunately, they both went down with flu-like symptoms and their health started deteriorating fast,” Namayi told The Standard on phone yesterday.

Maloba was rushed to Modern Medical Care Centre Nairobi on the night of June 27 and was immediately placed on high flow oxygen support machine.

He later tested positive for Covid-19 on June 29 after a series of tests was conducted to ascertain what was ailing him.

The doctors referred Maloba to Kenyatta National Hospital where he was admitted the following day in the facility’s high dependency unit (HDU).

“We visited the hospital and found my uncle in a dire state. He lay helpless, fighting for his life at the HDU,” said Namayi.

On the same day, Washuma also began to exhibit Covid-19 like symptoms and was placed under home isolation to monitor his situation.

He adds: “Our fears were confirmed when the Covid tests turned positive, and Washuma commenced treatment at Kenyatta hospital on June 30.”

Washuma’s oxygen levels had fallen to 65 per cent, putting him at risk of losing his life.

One thing led to another with the brothers developing breathing difficulties while receiving treatment and other complications set in.

Washuma was pronounced dead on July 1 while still in hospital, leaving his younger brother still fighting for his life. 

Five days later, Maloba succumbed to the disease. “We had barely started burial arrangements for Washuma only to be informed that Maloba was no more,” said Namayi.

The family is still coming to terms with how a routine medical check-up could end up in such tragedy.

Maloba and Washuma were in good health and high spirits when they left their rural home only to return in caskets.

Namayi recalled the day the family received news that his uncles were in hospital with Covid-19 infection.

“I was going about my daily routine when I was told that my uncles were admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital after contracting Covid-19; they were vulnerable due to their advanced ages.”

And that is how the family lost their first and last born brothers.

Mourners eulogised the two as almost inseparable and very close despite their age gap.

“They have been friends since childhood and were always together. Maybe that is why God decided to take them at the same time,” one of the mourners said.

Washuma served as the first principal of Musanda Secondary, a local school, while Maloba was an engineer.

“We have lost two great people who cherished development and education,” said Anthony Ombwayo, a brother of the departed.

The two adds to the growing number of people who have succumbed to Covid-19 in Kakamega County.

So far, the county has recorded 71 Covid-19 cases and 13 deaths in July.

The county recorded at least 358 Covid-19 cases between May and July. 

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