• On February 5, 2023, Agnes fell from a tree and was paralyzed from mid-chest down.After falling, she stepped on a brAnch and was totally paralysed.
•The Class 8 pupil will undergo surgery that will stabilise her spinal code and ease pressure so her condition is not worsened and she gains mobility in a wheelchair.
Agnes Indechi, 14, is hopeful of regaining partial mobility after undergoing a spinal operation at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital neurosurgical camp.
Indechi fell from a tree on February 5 and was paralysed from mid-chest down.
She said after climbing the tree, she stepped on one of the branches and fell, and then she could not move her entire body.
Indechi, a Standard 8 pupil in Butere, Kakamega, will undergo surgery to stabilise and ease pressure on her spinal cord in the hopes she will regain partial mobility to enable her use a wheelchair. At the moment she is unable to turn, move or even sit down.
Her mother, Dorice Kadima, 44, says even if her daughter will not walk again after the operation, she will be able to move with a wheelchair.
Kadima, while seated with her daughter in her hospital bed at JOORTH, said from the day her daughter fell from a tree she has not slept.
She recalled that on February 5 she woke up in morning, did some house chores and left for church. At 6pm went for a meeting.
“Around 6.30pm, a motorbike came to where we were having our meeting and the rider told me that I should rush home because an accident had occurred," she said. Kadima, a widow, said she panicked and immediately left for her house in Bumamu, Butere.
"When I reached home, my daughter was lying on the ground helpless. I was told that she fell from a tree. What baffled me was that she has never climbed a tree before."
She told the Star since it was late in the evening and she has other younger children to take care of, she was unable to take her daughter to hospital immediately. Kadima said people helped take her daughter into the house and the next day she took her to Yala hospital.
At Yala hospital she was referred to JOORTH and luckily there was a planned neurosurgical camp. The camp surgeries were starting from February 20 to March 3.
"My daughter was examined and the doctors told me that though she will not be able to walk again, they can rectify the spine to allow her some movement. Currently because she had low blood count and she is undergoing transfusion before the operation.”
She said it has not been easy for her because her daughter has to use diapers that are expensive. She sometimes uses five in a day.
She appealed for well-wishers to help her.
“I know there are people out there who can come to our aid, even assisting us get a wheelchair when my daughter is out of here,” she said.
Another beneficiary of the camp, Lynette Akoth Lumumba, was elated after her son was operated on.
Akoth gave birth to a pre-term baby who later developed swelling on the head. She was unable to take her son for surgery due to financial constraints.
Her son Vancu Bahati, who is turning four years now. was successfully operated on at the camp.
“I gave birth at five months following a relationship stress that affected me so much. My son's neck appeared not to be strong and then his head started swelling. We have been in and out of different hospitals but when I heard about the camp, I took decided to try my luck,” Akoth said.
She said the doctors examined her child and he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition that occurs when fluid builds up in the skull and causes brain swelling.
“I was told to wait for more checkup and results to ensure that what was being removed during the surgery, was removed.”
JOOTRH has consistently held neurosurgical camps in partnership with the Kisumu Neuroscience Initiative.
Five neurosurgeons Dr Victor Awour, Dr Chris Karas, Dr Jefferey Lobel, Dr Robert Geller and Dr Hiren Patel flew miles to Kisumu to offer services.
They are accompanied by Dr Mitchelle Walker who is an anaesthesiologist.
All the doctors are from the US. Three medical students from Germany are offering services at the camp. The team also has nurses.
The big agenda in this is how to improve quality. "We are keen on quality and not quantity of surgeries,” Dr Awour, the team leader, said.
The camp is a build-up to position Kisumu as a neurosurgical hub.
Dr Awour said since the inception of the camps, new aspects are introduced to each camp.
"Every time we come here we try and introduce something else that is geared toward improving quality, this season we have put in efforts to ensure that our charts are better organised, keep the patients organised and well-identified, hence better outcomes,” he said.
JOOTRH chief executive officer George Rae said the camps will develop a threshold of the medical team with the capacity to continue with the surgeries.
(Edited by V. Graham)