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12-year pain for boy who cannot relieve himself

Hopekin Kwakha, 12, with his mother Christine Shikuku at their home in Emuhunzulu in Khwisero, Kakamega County. [File, Standard]

After nine months of anxiety, it was a moment of joy when Christine Shikuku gave birth to a baby boy.

This was 12 years ago.

But the joy was short-lived. Two days after the birth, baby Hopekin Kwakha could not answer the call of nature.

The mother of eight from Emuhunzulu in Khwisero, Kakamega County, says the boy was taken to the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Referral Hospital in Kisumu for surgery, but the problem persisted.

“The doctors referred us to the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. At Kenyatta, two scans were conducted and it was discovered that his urinary tract needed correction,” she said.

Dr Hamdun Said, who conducted the first surgery, says the operation will cost more than Sh750,000.

"The child was operated in Kisumu for ARM (anorectal malformation). He was born without an anus. Unfortunately, the surgery led to an injury of the prostate urethra and he is now unable to pass urine through the penis and is doing so through the abdomen. He requires surgery to repair the urethra and the anus," said Dr Said.

The condition has already cost the family a lot, especially after the boy's father was involved in an accident on his way to visit them in hospital.

The mother and the boy were at one time confined at the KNH for failure to pay a bill of about Sh300,000.

Hopekin Kwakha, left, hopes to undergo surgeries to correct urinary and faecal tracks. [File, Standard]

“I had to stay in the hospital while relying on my husband, Patrick Shikuku, to bring me food since the hospital only fed my son,” said Mrs Shikuku.

One day, her husband failed to show up as usual and could not be reached on phone.

“I later found out that my husband had been knocked down near the hospital by a speeding car. Things were tough as the three of us were in the hospital and our seven children at home alone” she said.

“The bill increased to Sh500,000. We sold household goods but we couldn’t raise the amount, but luckily the bill was waived by the hospital after six months.”

Mr Shikuku suffered multiple fractures and is yet to recover fully. He says his NHIF account is dormant over nonpayment of monthly subscription.

Back at home, the Grade Four pupil is struggling to live a normal life.

To ensure he went back to school, they dress him with adult diapers that cost Sh600 daily, says the father.

Teachers at the Muhunzulu Primary School have also raised funds to help the family cope.

Two weeks ago, the school head teacher, Casper Mumia, took the family for checkup at KNH.

“He needs to undergo two surgeries; one to repair the bladder so that he urinates through the right way and the second one to open his anus. The pupil is very bright and if he can be helped, we would secure a better future for him,” said Mr Mumia.