Mr Opollo Zacharia, 27, his child affected by the strange disease. PHOTO | SG
Mr. Opollo Zacharia, 27, his child affected by the strange disease. PHOTO | SG 

Panic and fear in Kilifi county after a strange disease discovered. The strange disease has already claimed 17 children in the county.  Two children from Malindi and Fifteen from Mnarani in Kilifi have succumbed to the disease.


The situation has also left healthcare workers wondering what the problem could be. A health worker says two county hospitals have received cases of children aged under five years with similar symptoms and what is even more worrying is they all died a few hours later.

More than 15 children have so far died. Mr. Opollo Zacharia, 27, one of the parents still grieving the death of his daughter, Justice Miriam Ndede who was just one-and-a-half years old said he is worried his two-month-old daughter might suffer the same fate.

“She fell sick for about 20 hours only,” he recalled.

" On the night of March 3, the girl developed difficulty in breathing, a fever, weakness and a dry mild cough, the tell-tale signs of pneumonia. No one in the family had exhibited similar symptoms, neither had anyone traveled recently or were in contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19. The girl was taken to a private facility in Kilifi and the attending healthcare worker said my daughter was not the first child he had seen with difficulty in breathing, " he said.

At least 15 other parents from Mnarani, Kilifi County have lost children at the two facilities in the county between March 3 and 22.

“We are wondering what’s happening,” another healthcare worker said. “We know certainly that it is pneumonia but we don’t know why it is happening now.”

Some of the issues that the healthcare workers are grappling with are whether a change in weather has anything to do with the sudden developments.

“ Or are parents running here having sought services from other facilities where their children were misdiagnosed? ” he posed.


Out of fear of Covid-19, 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.

“We are puzzled, we don’t know whether there is something at the hospitals that are affecting these children and interfering with their treatment process,” said the health worker.

Dr. Neema Mturi, a pediatrician and the Head of Clinical Services at Kilifi County Hospital declined to comment saying she was not authorised to speak to the media only Kilifi Health CEC is allowed.

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