• Moses Mwatela should be in Grade 3 but he has dropped out of school.
• His age mates ridicule him because of the condition.
A 10-year-old boy from Bengo village in Kwale is seeking medical assistance after dropping out of school due to a long struggle with an anal disorder.
The abnormality, known as imperforate anus, is a congenital defect in which the opening to the anus is blocked or missing.
Moses Mwatela should be in Standard 3 but had to quit schooling after his agemates subjected him to frequent ridicule.
His mother, Grace Kanga, on Tuesday said Mwatela was born with the condition. She noted it when he was only three days old. Efforts to correct the disorder have proved futile. She can no longer pay for corrective care.
Grace said Mwatela discontinued his education because his schoolmates discriminated against him and claimed he smelled bad. And as if that was not humiliating enough, some would beat him up.
“He had to quit learning because most of the time he would come home crying, saying his colleagues are teasing him,” she said.
The family says his treatment has cost them a fortune. They have spent more than Sh1 million on medical expenses in nine years. Soon after birth, Mwatela's stomach swelled, compelling her mother to seek medical attention.
“My baby was crying a lot. He refused to breastfeed and looking at his belly, it was becoming big. That is when I went to the hospital,” she said.
Mswambweni Referral Hospital was her immediate stop. The baby was examined and doctors said Mwatela was having a narrow anal passage and needed a quick colostomy operation. The doctors cut open a section of his large intestine from the side and joined it with a colostomy bag.
“The surgeons found another way of helping him and removed a bit of his upper rectum from the stomach,” Grace said.
They were then set to undergo regular check-ups until the medics said they could no longer help. He was referred to Port Reitz Hospital in Mombasa, where appointment dates kept changing. Finally, the medics told her they could not pursue another medical operation since Mwatela was an infant and could not bear the procedure of having his anal path widened.
Kanga opted for Kijabe Hospital in Nairobi but run out of cash. The mother says she feels bad keeping her son at home but it is the only way he can be protected because the opening must be kept clean and undisturbed all the time to avoid infection.
Mwatela aspires to be a doctor. That would require that he gets back to school to further his education. For now, he has grudgingly put his dream on hold as he is in dire need of medical support. His future is at stake.
Mwatela has appealed to good Samaritans and government officials to save him from the mental and physical torture. The mother hopes that her son will come through the agony. She says any act of kindness that will help his son is welcome — no matter how small. She can be reached through her mobile phone number — 0711 770 657.
(Edited by F'Orieny)