Family seeks referral for son with kidney disease

Duncan as been on medication for the past eight years

In Summary

• Autopsy underway to ascertain cause of condition, rare in under-20s

• Boy has been on oral drugs for eight years 

Duncan Kiplagat, 18-year old critical kidney patient at Eldama-Ravine Sub-county hospital in Baringo County on Monday.
ILL: Duncan Kiplagat, 18-year old critical kidney patient at Eldama-Ravine Sub-county hospital in Baringo County on Monday.

A family in Eldama-Ravine, Baringo county, wants their son suffering from kidney failure referred urgently for specialised treatment.

Duncan Kiplagat, 18, was only ten when his renal condition was first reported at Eldama-Ravine Subcounty Hospital in 2010. 

“It is eight years now since he was put on oral drugs, mostly painkillers and injections by the outpatient nurses,” his mother Monica Tarus said. 

Tarus said her child’s health was well before he suddenly developed swollen legs, complained of frequent headache and constant fatigue.

Duncan's parents (left) with him in hospital
HOPEFUL: Duncan's parents (left) with him in hospital

She said his condition affected his learning at Shimoni Primary School as he was constantly on medication and resting at home. 

“In 2014, doctors in the facility recommended a renal test after the boy started urinating blood. The results showed both his kidneys were already swollen,” Tarus said.

She was accompanied by the boy’s father Sammy Chepkeres when the media visited him in the facility on Monday. 

The sick boy joined Form 1 at Shimoni Day Secondary School in January but had to cut short his studies owing to his deteriorating condition.

“Three weeks ago, we were awakened by our son’s loud scream that he was dying before collapsing and falling unconscious,” Chepkeres said.

Hospital deputy superintendent Masai Shapaya confirmed the boy’s condition saying,

“It is really an emergency. We would have referred the boy long ago but we doubted if the family would afford the enormous hospital charges in big hospitals because NHIF may not cater for the entire expense."

Eldama-Ravine Subcounty Hospital in Baringo county
Eldama-Ravine Subcounty Hospital in Baringo county

Chepkeres pleaded with the hospital to refer Kiplagat, assuring them that despite his family's poverty, he would do everything within his means to get him treatment. 

“I am now appealing to every well-wisher who is touched to come to our aid. I will always thank God if I see my son healed,” he sobbed.

Shapaya said although there was a dialysis machine at the county referral hospital in Kabarnet, it lacks a kidney specialist.

“It is such a demanding process outsourcing a renal specialist and it means an extra cost shall be incurred every time we invite a non-county employee,” he said.

Rare case

Shapaya said it is a rare phenomenon for children and young people under 20 to develop such medical complications, saying an investigation is being carried out to ascertain what may have triggered the condition. 

The boy’s parents, who are peasant farmers, said they are struggling with menial jobs to raise school fees for their other two children.

The ailing boy says he can walk a bit but his entire body swells in the sun and still feels some piercing back pain, nausea and headache. 

“I would want to get well soon so I can go back to school, study well to become a doctor so I can also treat people with a similar condition,” he said. 

(Edited by Rosemary Wamochie)