Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga has opened up on his one-month battle with Covid-19 that saw him in and out of several hospitals.
In an interview with The Standard, Mr Kahiga recalled how what he thought was the flu left him bedridden for nearly three weeks as he battled the disease.
Kahiga, who is the first county boss to publicly reveal that he had Covid-19, narrated the nasty experience that saw him treated in Mombasa before he was later transferred to Nyeri.
Covid 19 Time Series
The governor said he first noticed symptoms of the disease after Mashujaa Day celebrations in Mweiga town.
“I had to travel to Mombasa for a governors’ meeting on Mashujaa Day. When I arrived, I noticed I had a sore throat which I thought was an ordinary flu,” he said.
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The governor took over-the-counter medicine for what he thought was a cold, but his symptoms persisted.
“By the time I came back to Nyeri I was experiencing fatigue. I consulted my doctor who prescribed some medication. After a few days, I was back in Mombasa again for the Universal Health Care Conference.”
It was during this second trip to the Coast that the governor’s health took a turn for the worse and he missed his presentation.
“I was in my room and unable to leave. The next day, my team rushed me to Aga Khan Hospital where they started doing tests such as X-rays that indicated blockages in my lungs and pneumonia. I was immediately put on medication,” Kahiga said.
He was later transferred to Nyeri where his doctors, who were in consultation with the Aga Khan team, started treating him for Covid-19 as they awaited swab test results.
“Doctors must be applauded for doing their best to tackle the novel coronavirus. They put me on treatment and oxygen to save my life,” he added.
The governor was treated at home where he spent most of the next 18 days reading newspapers in isolation.
“My symptoms were loss of smell and taste. I had no appetite and felt extremely fatigued. I also had difficulty breathing,” he said.
Kahiga ensured that everyone in his household wore a mask at all times.
“I know many people do not take their home-based care seriously. If you are at home, make sure you are sanitising, keeping social distance and wearing, masks especially if you are taking care of a patient.”
The governor admitted that he failed to take the Covid-19 symptoms seriously when they first manifested.
Kahiga said that despite recovering from the disease – he tested negative for Covid-19 twice – he has been experiencing excessive thirst, night sweats and pain where he received intravenous injections.
The decision to opt for home-based care, he said, was because there were no free beds in the county’s public and private hospitals.
“Kenyans need to take this disease seriously. When we feel cold-like symptoms, do not assume that it is not Covid-19. A lot of us are self-medicating like I did and this could have dangerous consequences,” he warned.