As the rest of the country struggles to ponder over the current Coronavirus pandemic in Kenya, Kilifi residents are in deep anguish after seventeen children in the area succumbed to a mysterious illness reported between March 2 and March 22 this year.
The situation has also left county healthcare workers puzzled over what the deadly disease could be.
According to a story that first appeared on Kenya’s Sunday Standard on 29th March, two county hospitals received cases of children aged under five years with similar symptoms of difficulty in breathing, fever, general body weakness, and a dry mild cough.
Even more worrying to the medics was the fact that all the young patients died just a few hours later.
So far, more than 15 children have been confirmed dead.
One of the parents still grieving the death of his daughter, revealed that his one and a half-year-old daughter started experiencing difficulty in breathing on the night of March 3, and he rushed her to a private facility in Kilifi where she was treated and discharged.
In his conversation with journalists, he continues to narrate that symptoms worsened and at around 2 a.m, he was back at the hospital where after several tests, he decided to rush her to Malindi sub-County Hospital and she was immediately admitted to the High Dependency Unit but unfortunately passed away just a few minutes past 4 p.m.
Another parent, Alfred Oyoma, 35, lost his eight-month-old daughter – who been taken to a private facility in Malindi after she developed similar symptoms – under similar circumstances.
“She died in less than 24 hours later and the diagnosis, we were given was pneumonia,” Oyoma painfully recalled.
Records show that up to 15 other parents from Mnarani, Kilifi County have lost children in the past month.
The puzzling deaths come at a time when Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe, highlighted Kilifi County as one of the high-risk areas in regards to the deadly Coronavirus that has turned into a global pandemic.
Doctors who tried to treat the children could not establish what killed them, with some claiming that it could be a bad case of pneumonia.
Due to Coronavirus fears, healthcare workers are also wondering whether parents are self-medicating for too long and delaying in seeking the appropriate healthcare services that could potentially save their children’s lives.
“Over the last two weeks, we have seen children with similar presentations of sickness,” a health worker in Kilifi disclosed.
Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed that the number of people who have tested positive for the deadly Coronavirus illness had risen to 38.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said seven more people had tested positive following analysis of 81 suspected cases in the last 24 hours.