It’s early in the morning at Mabomani village in Voi, Taita –Taveta County. An elderly man with one arm laboriously uproots weeds which have encroached on his compound, almost to the doorstep.
Once in a while he stretches out and yawns, probably out of hunger pangs. He wears a frown, which might as well indicate his misery.
With a lost look on his face he turns round and says, “I had a feeling that I was going to get visitors. In fact were you to come an hour later you couldn’t have found me. I was preparing to attend a funeral of a relative at Rong’e village”.
Mzee Kera Mwashimba’s life turned into one of pain and agony after he lost a limb at Moi hospital in Voi two years ago after what he says was an ordinary arm injection for malaria.
“I fell sick two years ago around Christmas time and was admitted to Moi hospital for treatment. By the time I arrived at the hospital I was unconscious and I was not aware of what was happening till I woke up to find myself on a drip. The doctors said it was a severe case of malaria,” says the 66 year old man with five children.
He says after three days he was given an arm injection and left for home hoping that the malaria would be cured.
However, he says his situation began to deteriorate as the arm began swelling at the point where he had been injected.
“The pain persisted and I had to return to hospital for further checkup,” says the elderly man.
He says at the hospital the doctor told him that the injection had developed a poison at the point on his arm where he had been injected, which had to be amputated before the poison reached the heart.
“I was told the injection had turned poisonous and my arm had to be amputated to save my life” he says ruefully, adding that from there on his life turned upside down as he lost his job as a security guard in the town.
“When people were celebrating Christmas I was ruing the loss of my right arm,” says the elderly man.
They say lightning doesn’t strike twice but for Mzee Mwashimba it did. Shortly he lost his wife who had been nursing him, and his pain amplified.
“Since then I have been relying for help from my son and daughter who have been assisting me with food rations. Once in a while we get relief food but its not enough and we have to supplement from my children’s meager income they made from casual work” he says.
The elderly man who now literally lives by begging around Voi town, is appealing to the government to assist him with more relief food as he has been rendered partially disabled at his advanced age.
“I will be glad if the government comes forward and assists me because I have no wife to even fend for me at my advanced age,” he says almost shedding tears.
At the same time Mzee Mwashimba is convinced that the loss of his arm is due to negligence at the hospital.
“I can’t understand how an injection for malaria can lead to one’s arm being amputated” he laments.
Area assistant chief Delphine Mwazo said the poor man’s case is pathetic and needs urgent help.
Though the cause of the amputation might not be exactly ascertained, she says all efforts must be made to alleviate the old man’s agony.
Mzee Mwashimba’s case is not the only one. About two years ago a standard five pupil at Voi Primary School Simon Mjomba also lost his right limb after a bungled operation at Moi hospital .
The boy had fallen off a tree when playing at school and was admitted at the hospital. Due to negligence the wound became septic and his arm began to rot way leading to amputation.
The boy is now struggling to learn by righting with the left had.
Attempts by i-mpact news to get comments from Moi Hospital administration were futile as all sources contacted claimed ignorance of Mzee Mwashimba’s plight.