Health and Education

Starehe Girls closed indefinitely over ‘mysterious disease’

Starehe Girls High School in Nairobi has been closed indefinitely.

This comes barely two days after reports emerged that some students had been quarantined after exhibiting signs of a strange, unidentified illness.

A press statement released on Tuesday, October 1, stated that each of the quarantined students had a high pitched cough and sneeze, as well as low-grade fever.

“52 girls have since been isolated for observation within the school. Samples have been obtained for further tests. Their parents and guardians have been informed, and the school is in constant communication with them,” read an excerpt of the school’s official statement.

The learning institution informed parents, guardians and stakeholders, that they were working with the Health Ministry and the department of Integrated Disease Surveillance Response (IDRS) to establish the cause of the strange disease.

more to follow…

Details of Trump & Peter Tabichi’s Meeting at White House

Renowned Kenyan teacher, Peter Tabichi on Monday, September 16, 2019 met US President Donald Trump at the White House.

In a photo shared by White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham‏, she showered praises on Tabichi, acknowledging him for his sacrifices. 

“This morning, President Donald Trump met with Peter Tabichi, the recipient of the 2019 Global Teacher Prize

“Peter is a science teacher who gives away 80 per cent of his monthly income to help the poor in his home country of Kenya,” she posted on Twitter. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta with teacher Peter Mokaya Tabichi, the 2019 Global Teacher Prize winner when he called on him at State House, Nairobi.
President Uhuru Kenyatta with teacher Peter Mokaya Tabichi, the 2019 Global Teacher Prize winner when he called on him at State House, Nairobi in March 2019

Ms Grisham continued to tell the Kenyan tutor that he inspires Trump’s administration. 

“His dedication, hard work, and belief in his student’s talent has led his poorly resourced school in Kenya, to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions.

“Peter, you inspire us all! Thank you for your commitment to your students,” she added.

The renowned teacher is scheduled to speak at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, that will take place from September 17 to 30, 2019.

Brother Tabichi will recite the popular St Francis prayer before the start of the general assembly, according to Brother Tony Donald from Ireland.

“This is a big honour for St Franciscan brothers. It shows that the UN recognises our order as it plays a key role in the development of humanity,” he said.

The teacher is also expected to give brief remarks on how he made it to the top in the teaching profession.

Kenyans were also not left behind in celebrating the award-winning teacher. 

“Good for him!! I hope trump can learn a few lessons on humility and decency from this great teacher! As a matter of fact it should be trump visiting Tabichi,” posted on Erick, a Facebook user. 

“Peter Tabichi is standing a great man not because of wealth or rank, but a teacher with rarely overwhelming generosity . He demonstrated to the world that generosity pays in any work or leadership,” commented Peter Tonui. 

Peter Tabichi (c) reacts after winning the 2019 Global Teacher Prize in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates on March 24, 2019.
Peter Tabichi (c) reacts after winning the 2019 Global Teacher Prize in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates on March 24, 2019.

Woman Forced to Give Birth Outside City Hospital

Residents of Dandora took to the streets after a woman, Mary Atieno, was forced to deliver outside the Dandora Health Centre after being turned away.

The residents protested what they termed as negligence from the dispensary owned by the Nairobi County Government.

According to Atieno, the staff at the clinic asked her to seek medical attention at Mama Lucy hospital, but could not make it and delivered just outside the facility.

She further stated that the attendants had told her that they could not feel the foetal movements and therefore, she needed urgent medical attention from Mama Lucy Hospital.

“They told me the baby was not moving and thus needed to head to Mama Lucy. After reaching outside the gate, I felt I could not reach Mama Lucy, so I came back because the baby was almost out. They still chased me with my prenatal book that I should rush to the other facility,” Atieno Narrated.

Angry women took to the streets, claiming that the woman delivered while holding on to the health centre’s gate in full glare of the medical staff who didn’t assist.

The protesters also stated that the facility has been known for demanding admission fees before attending to pregnant mothers, contrary to the government’s free maternity policy.

“Here you don’t deliver for free, you are usually asked to pay for the card,” complained one protester.

The residents engaged police in running battles that took the better part of the day, as they stoned the facility demanding justice for Atieno.

They further accused the health centres management of not paying attention to mothers from the area.

Chris Kirubi’s Heartfelt Appeal as He Battles Cancer

Billionaire businessman Chris Kirubi on Monday, September 16, made a heartfelt appeal to members of the public regarding casual approach to cancer screening.

In a video shared by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, the tycoon asked his audience to go for cancer screening early enough explaining that once they test positive for it, they will commence treatment sooner.

Speaking from experience, Kirubi further noted that the disease was not as devastating as many people think but the catch was to get tested early.

Raila Odinga (left) when he visited Chris Kirubi while he was receiving treatment in the US in May 2018.
Raila Odinga (left) when he visited Chris Kirubi while he was receiving treatment in the US in May 2018.

“You need to go and check your status in the hospital. Cancer is not devastating if it is discovered early. You need to make sure that if you have a cancer attack and it is discovered in the first or second stages, it is possible to cure at that time.

“Do not allow cancer to get to the third and fourth stages because it becomes difficult for the doctors to cure it,” stated Kirubi with special focus on investors of his companies.

Seemingly touched by the message, Sonko shared the branded video clip with a message insinuating that he had had a similar experience.

“The subject of cancer is one that is very dear to my heart. I know that cancer diagnosis can be very devastating for the person who is receiving the news because I have been on the receiving end,” posted the governor.

The businessman has been in and out of hospital receiving treatment for the disease including when he was flown to the US for specialised treatment in 2017.

Kirubi appeared to be on his way to recovery towards the end of 2018 and had even assumed his role as DJ CK on Capital FM before reports emerged that he had been admitted to hospital again.

Kirubi is a wealthy and influential entrepreneur with notable investments including Centum Real Estate that owns the Two Rivers Mall.

Sonko Steps in After Consolata Boy’s Foul Comments Go Viral

For the better part of Sunday, September 15, evening and Monday, Kenyans on social media were dumbfounded by the shocking contents of a video published by a pupil at the Consolata School.

The selfie video posted on the boy’s Instagram account shows him hurling unprintables at a classmate whom he claimed had spread rumours about him. He goes on to issue what would have been dismissed as juvenile threats, were it not for them being laced with grotesque words.

Nairobi governor Mike Sonko on Monday, September 16, gave his two cents over the issue calling for counselling for the pupil.

Consolata School Nairobi
Consolata School in Nairobi. A video posted online of a student at the institution using vulgar language has gone viral.

“This boy needs a lot of help. He’s struggling. More than meets the eyes. Young man your apology is accepted next time when apologizing don’t use the word.  

“Fellow Kenyans let’s say No to cyberbullying this kid needs Love, guidance and counselling psychology,” he stated.

The pupil in question pulled down the controversial videos on Sunday, September 15, from his social media and put up an apology video.

“I know it wasn’t right for me to use the vulgar language and for that, I apologize. On my part, I know I overreacted and for that I’m sorry,” he stated.

Activist Boniface Mwangi was of the opinion that the boy needed to be sent to an approved school to be disciplined.

“At the age of 11 years, l was sent to Approved School. I had run away from home and l was convicted of ‘vagrancy.’ At 14 years, I was expelled from an approved school. The Consolata Boy belongs in approved, he will find teachers and boys who can teach him lessons on how to behave,” he stated.

Activist Boniface Mwangi.
Activist Boniface Mwangi. He stated that the boy ought to be taken to an approved school to be disciplined.

Explainer: CBC not an exam but curriculum evaluation

As the Kenya Early Year Assessment test for the 1.3 million Grade Three pupils kicks off today countywide, we lay bare what KEYA is all about. 

Not an Exam

The ministry of education says the KEYA test is not an exam but rather an assessment of the Competency-Based Curriculum so far. It was launched two years ago. “We are not examining these children.

We are trying to see how their abilities are going to help us move on to the next level,” says Education CS Prof George Magoha. 

Is there going to be repeaters?

The national assessment will not determine the transition to the next class. All Grade Three learners will transit to Grade Four under the 100 percent transition policy. According to the Education CS, the Grade Three assessment is not weighty as KCPE and KCSE.

Grade 3 learners aren’t sitting any exams. KNEC is only monitoring their progress in a term-long exercise that doesn’t have a timetable, is conducted by class teachers, has no supervision, and learners won’t be ranked,” says Prof Magoha The new curriculum, which is focused on child development, aims at bringing the exam-based culture to a borderline with Prof Magoha stressing that Kenyans need to forget the fascination with examinations. 

“This Kenyan love with examinations, please forget about it. This is not an exam,” says Prof Magoha.

Backdrop

English Activities, Mathematics Activities, and Integrated Learning Areas will be assessed in the ongoing Grade Three assessment and class teachers will act as supervisors.The tests are on the Kenya National Examination Council portal where Head Teachers are expected to download them from and assess the pupils.  

The learners will also be administered with an integrated test that includes Kiswahili Activities/KSL, Environmental Activities, Movement and Creative Activities, Religious Activities, Hygiene and Nutrition.

Under the integrated learning areas, orientation and mobility skills, pre-numeracy skills and sensory-motor and creative activities will be assessed.Once the assessment is done, the class teachers are expected to upload the results on the Knec portal.

Knec has already started receiving uploaded results of the integrated environmental activity test that required learners to clean markets in their locality between July 12 and September 14, 2019. “At KNEC, we have received a lot of results about the integrated activities.

It is not starting on Monday it has already started,” said Magoha. According to Magoha, the assessment which was expected to end on Friday, September 20 will continue until the end of the term.

What is it all about?

Prof Magoha explains that school-based assessments will be used to archive three critical goals that will inform government policies.Firstly, it will help the government to understand if effective learning is taking place under the CBC and whether the learners are acquiring the expected skills.It will also be used to identify areas of interventions to improve learning. 

Students will only sit national examinations at the end of Grades 9 and 12.Grade 12 is an equivalent of the current Form Four. This means the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations has been retained and will be used to place students in universities. Under the new 2-6-3-3-3 education system, learners will spend two years in pre-primary before proceeding to Grade One to Six.

According to Prof Magoha, the CBC is aimed at improving every leaner’s life since it provides a child with an opportunity to learn from their mistakes. 

Leaners with special needs

Learners with special needs in regular schools will be provided with the same assessment tools but shall be adapted to suit their various disabilities.In this category, learners’ competencies are monitored in communication, social and pre-literacy skills, activities of daily living and religious education will also be assessed.

Professor Magoha admitted on Friday that there are some ‘very severely disabled children’ who are finding it difficult to be assessed. He called upon teachers to administer repetitive assessment tests to them until they realise their potential. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta had assured that all learners including those with disabilities will be given equal opportunities to excel in their areas of abilities and interests.

Speed up labour at your own risk, warn doctors

Some women have resorted to shortcuts to “make the process go faster”

For most women, the excruciating pain associated with labour is a part of birth they would prefer to skip.
Unaware of the health risks they are exposing themselves to, some women have resorted to shortcuts to “make the process faster”.

Women in parts of Mombasa and Kwale counties use a concoction made from natural herbs to induce labour early and, hopefully, ease the pain.
Ms Mwanasiti Hamisi, a mother of three from Likoni Sub-County in Mombasa, said she used the concoction (known as mihaso) in two of her pregnancies and both “turned out all right with minimal pains”.

“With my first pregnancy, I fainted while in labour because of unbearable pain,” she said, adding that she decided to give mihaso a try on the advise of her friends.
However, gynaecologists warned against the use of such concoctions, saying the women were risking their lives and those of their babies.

GREENISH SUBSTANCE
Coast Chairman of the Kenya Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society, Dr Ramadhan Marjan, said women came up with different tactics to either escape normal delivery or to ease the pains, therefore, putting their lives and the babies’ at risk.

Ms Rukia Salim told HealthyNation her friend, a first time mother, used mihaso and developed complications. Her friend almost lost her life.
“My friend had been in labour for five hours. When she was given the herb to speed up labour, she started bleeding,” she said.

Dr Marjan said some women inserted a greenish substance in their birth canal. “Sometimes expectant mothers go to the hospital over a false alarm. During a vaginal exam by a doctor, the greenish substance comes out, triggering an alarm. The doctor ends up performing a C-section when it was not necessary,” he said.

“It is normal for new mothers to have longer labour compared to women who have delivered more than once,” he said.
Circumstances under which a woman may experience prolonged labour is, among others, when a baby is too big to move through the birth canal or when the baby is in an abnormal position, said the gynaecologist.

“Normally, the baby’s head is supposed to face the mother’s back and the baby should be upside down before birth. Any other position is abnormal. Weak contractions can also prolong labour and if the mother’s canal is too small,” he added.

SEVERE CONTRACTIONS
Another gynaecologists, who did not want to be named, said only doctors were allowed to induce labour.

“Speeding up labour can be harmful because a birth canal must have opened up to a certain width for a woman to be able to deliver. Rushing it might cause a tear that may endanger the woman’s life through excessive bleeding,” she said.

Bomet girl kills self after humiliation over menses

Friday, September 6, 2019, started off as a normal school day for 14-year-old Jackline Chepngeno.

She rose with high energy, took a shower, enjoyed her breakfast and trekked to Kabiangek Primary School in Konoin Sub-County, Bomet County.

In high moods and at peace with herself, Jackline, a Standard Six pupil, enjoyed lessons until the third one.

Young, innocent and with no prior experience of menstruation, her maiden period caught her by surprise.

SOILED UNIFORM

Her female classmates say she was confused after soiling her uniform and hardly concentrated, attracting the attention of the female teacher.

The young girl thought being a woman, her teacher was going to have mercy and advise her in private.

She was wrong.

The teacher embarrassed and humiliated her before the entire class, her mother Beatrice Koech says.

According to the parent, the teacher said the girl was “dirty” for soiling her dress and kicked her out.

NO PADS

“She had nothing to use as a pad. When the blood stained her clothes, she was told to leave the classroom and stand outside,” she said.

This case, once again, casts a spotlight on the Education ministry’s free sanitary towels programme for schoolgirls.

Humiliated, Jackline walked home with difficulty as she employed all tricks to hide her “little shame” from the public.

It is claimed that when the girl arrived home, she narrated the ordeal to her mother before going to fetch water from a nearby water pan.

OVERWHELMED

It is at this water source that the pupil was overwhelmed by shame and decided to hang herself using a leso she was carrying.

“When police arrived at the scene, they found the girl had committed suicide using a leso and the body was moved to Kapkatet Hospital mortuary,” said Konoin Sub-County Police Commander Alex Shikondi.

Her parents reported the matter to police on the same day the body was taken to the mortuary but the case never moved an inch.

On Tuesday, parents stormed the school, protesting police inaction four days after the case was reported.

The twig-carrying and chanting group demanded to know why the female teacher who humiliated Jackline had neither been summoned nor questioned by the police.

PROTEST

Police lobbed tear gas canisters to disperse parents who blocked the road leading to the school.

Five of the demonstrators were bundled into a police van and whisked away after they pulled down the school gate.

The gate was brought down after a teacher and the school watchman attempted to block them from entering the compound.

SCHOOL CLOSED

The school was hurriedly closed as teachers sent children home.

Mrs Lilian Cheptiony, a villager, said it was unfortunate that the girl had committed suicide over a matter that could have been sorted.

“Sadly, we have lost a young promising girl who would have in future made a positive contribution to development in society,” she said.

Journalists were barred from accessing the school as the headteacher, John Kosilei, was said to have gone to the county education offices on official duties.

Nairobi Doctor Dies Rushing to Save Pregnant Woman

The Kenyan Medical fraternity is mourning the loss of one of its top doctors who succumbed after being involved in a grisly accident while rushing to help an expectant woman deliver.

Dr. Edward Were, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, died in a head-on collision on the Eastern By-pass on Wednesday, September 4, at 2 am.

“He died on the spot while rushing to perform a caesarian operation on a pregnant woman. He was called at 2 am in the morning and as a professional doctor who took the Socratis oath, he was obliged to respond to the call.

“He died on the spot. We arrived at the scene only to find his body in an ambulance. What I wonder is how he was going to save someone’s life then he was taken away. He was a loving brother and we will miss him,” his younger brother, Chris Evans, a communication graduate from Moi University eulogised him while speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on phone. 

Dr. Edward Were, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, died in a head-on collision on the Eastern Bypass on Wednesday, September 4. He was rushing to save a pregnant woman
Dr. Edward Were, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, died in a head-on collision on the Eastern Bypass on Wednesday, September 4. He was rushing to save a pregnant woman.

Were was driving on his way from Ruiru towards Rongai, where the pregnant woman was.
 
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) Secretary-General for Nairobi branch, Dr. Thuranira Kaugiria, told K24 Digital on the phone another medical doctor was sent to the woman’s house to facilitate the operation.

“The new-mother had a successful delivery via c-section, and her baby is also fine,” Thuranira revealed.

KMPDU also eulogised Dr Were through social media, “Dr. Edward Were was a very diligent and reliable doctor who always strived to be available irrespective of when he was called for duty. It is very sad that he met his death while applying his passion to save another life. Having call rooms would have saved this life.”

Until his death, Were was attached at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital, Ongata Rongai branch and also used to work privately at a hospital in Embu. 

The deceased had a wife and a one-year-old daughter. 

A photo of the lorry involved in an accident with Dr. Were's car. He Were's car. He died while rushing to save a pregnant woman.
A photo of the lorry involved in an accident with Dr. Were’s car. He died while rushing to save a pregnant woman.

Public schools face cash crunch ahead of national exams

Secondary school headteachers are worried that they may not have enough time to prepare candidates for this year’s national examinations because of the Ministry of Education’s failure to release funds meant for third term.

The exams are scheduled to begin next month, with the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination set for October 21 — November 27.

PRACTICALS

Candidates will be examined on French, German, Arabic, Kenya Sign Language and Music practicals between Monday, October 21 and Friday, October 25. Rehearsals will be done on November 1.

Chemistry practicals will be done on November 8, biology practicals on November 15 while physics practicals will be conducted on November 26. The government is expected to release about Sh10 billion to both primary and secondary schools this term.

But by Tuesday, the ministry had not released the funds. Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang’ did not answer our calls on when the funds will be released.

The resource flow from the National Treasury has been in the ratio of 50:30:20 for the three school terms. Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli said public schools are in a financial crisis and are unable to run smoothly because of huge fee balances amounting to millions owed by parents and delayed free education cash. Schools desperately need the money to buy chemicals and exam practical apparatus.

“We are asking the ministry to release these funds to enable schools buy the necessary chemicals and specimens early enough,” he said

In January, the government released Sh36 billion — Sh30 billion to public secondary schools and Sh6 billion to primary schools.

SALARIES

In the second term, Sh29 billion was released to schools. The government releases the funds based on the total number of learners in school in a year.

In May, the government released Sh14.5 billion to public primary and secondary schools, being 50 per cent of the capitation for the term. The other half was released in August after schools were closed.

“As at now, that money is not in school bank accounts as we spent it in paying our suppliers, hoping that the ministry will release funds meant for third term before schools open today (Tuesday),” said Mr Indimuli. The cash crunch has hit schools hard and the situation could deteriorate further if the ministry fails to release the funds this week.

“Every year we have been facing a challenge in funding,” said Mr Indimuli, adding that due to the financial state, most schools had not paid staff salaries for up to two months, while some creditors have threatened to withdraw supplies this term.

Principals who spoke to the Nation lamented the sorry situation and urged the government to come up with a proper system of ensuring that schools receive funds on time. “Right now schools have no funds, we hope the ministry releases the funds before next week to enable us prepare for the national exams,” said a principal in Nyeri.

Another principal from a day secondary school in Samburu County said his school depends on the ministry funds to buy apparatus. A secondary school headteacher in Kiambu said he has not paid salaries for four teachers hired by the board of management since July.

SUPPLIERS

Many dealers have also stopped supplies on credit owing to long delays in payment; they are demanding cash upfront.

“If the money is not released to us soon, we are going to have problems buying laboratory equipment in time for the science practicals, which begin next month,” he said.

The Nation has also learnt that a majority of public schools have fee arrears ranging from Sh5 million to as high as Sh20 million.

The most affected are boarding schools, where parents are required by the government to pay a percentage to cater for their food. A principal from a boys’ school in Murang’a County said the school has fee arrears of Sh13 million. The government introduced the free secondary school education last year.

For the free day secondary education, all leaners receive Sh22,244 per annum. Parents are not required to pay any extra fees for the day scholars.

For category A schools, which are national schools and extra-county schools in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nyeri, Thika and Eldoret, the government will provide Sh22,244 while parents are required to pay Sh53,554, making a total of Sh75,798 per year.

PROPOSAL

Category B boarding schools and extra-country schools in other areas will receive Sh22,244 from the government with parents paying Sh40,535, making a total of Sh62,779 a year.

Parents with children in special needs secondary schools pay Sh12,790 with the government footing Sh57,974 annually.

Kessha has already written a proposal to the ministry, asking to increase fees paid by parents.

The principals want extra-county schools to pay Sh17,000 more and day schools to pay Sh6,000 more. Those in county schools will pay Sh7,537 more. Mr Indimuli said this will help solve the financial crisis in schools.