Top doctor dies as virus ravages health workers
A public health expert with more than 25 years experience has become the latest prominent personality to succumb to the second wave of coronavirus on a day the country lost eight more people to the pandemic.
Dr Hudson Inyangala is best remembered for the role he played in the fight against HIV/Aids during his stint at the Aphiaplus programme where he worked as a senior technical adviser and chief-of-party for service delivery in the USAID-funded project.
Aphiaplus seeks to improve access to health care for vulnerable members of society. He also worked at the Kakamega Provincial General Hospital.
Inyangala succumbed to the dreaded virus while undergoing treatment at an Eldoret hospital on Friday.
Coincidentally, the doctor was the best man during the wedding of orthopaedic surgeon Dr Daniel Alishula, who also succumbed to the disease last week.
The deaths of the two medics came in a week that Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe described as the deadliest after it recorded the highest number of deaths—more than 100—since the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country in March.
More than 12,000 confirmed cases were reported in October — the highest monthly figure so far—forcing President Uhuru Kenyatta to reintroduce stringent containment measures during the sixth extraordinary session of the national and county governments last week.
Last Thursday, another senior medic, former Nairobi County official Dr Robert Ayisi succumbed to Covid-19 complications, illustrating the extent to which the disease was ravaging health workers.
Dr Ayisi had been admitted at the Mater Hospital in Nairobi for treatment.
Mid-last month, the country also lost Nakuru’s Lanet Umoja Location chief Francis Kariuki, who was popularly known as the “Tweeting Chief” to the pandemic.
His burial was conducted at his home in Githioro, Bahati, under strict adherence to Covid-19 regulations.
It was also within the same month that the Ward Rep for Huruma in Uasin Gishu, Michael Chomba succumbed to Covid-19.
During his burial on October 21, Public health officials cancelled a public viewing of the body that was to take place at the Uasin Gishu County Assembly.
“We will abide by all the guidelines given to us by the government as we give our leader a befitting send off,” said Lenny Chomba, a brother of the deceased.
Chomba served Huruma Ward for almost 20 years as councillor and later MCA. He died at the Eldoret Hospital where he had been rushed for treatment. His family confirmed he had died of Covid-19.
Other prominent personalities who have succumbed to the deadly virus in the last two weeks include Kakamega County Chief of Staff Robert Sumbi and Tononoka Secondary School Principal Mohammed Khamisi.
Former Kakamega gubernatorial aspirant Mable Muruli, also succumbed to the virus which attacks the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing, on October 30. The deaths came amidst an upsurge of confirmed cases that is threatening to overrun county health facilities.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health reported 719 new cases from some 4, 732 samples tested in the 24 hours, bringing the national caseload to 62, 488.
Last week, Oparanya, whose county is one of the hardest hit, said that devolved units sorely lacked the capacity to handle Covid-19 patients.
He said that counties can no longer admit new patients, painting a gloomy picture of the actual situation at the grassroots level.
“We are heading to breaking point because things are reaching out of control,” he said.
“We cannot even transfer patients from one county to another,” he added.
The governor spoke, as it emerged that more than 20 healthcare workers in Kakamega have contracted the virus in the last one week.
Also hard hit is Mombasa, which has lost two nurses to the pandemic during the second wave, the latest one being Margaret Mwadime, who was based at Port Reitz Hospital.
She succumbed to the disease at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital’s Covid-19 ICU where she was being treated.
The nurse’s death triggered an uproar among health workers in the county who demanded the provision of sufficient Personal Protective Equipment, saying their lives are at risk following a new wave of infections.
Kenya National Union of Nurses Mombasa chapter secretary Peter Maroko accused both levels of government of negligence, saying lives of their members were at risk.