• Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati visited Makokha at her home in Stabicha in Kimilili, then accompanied her to Bungoma Level 5 Hospital for preliminary tests.
• She will accrue other surgery-related and long-term post-operative costs not covered , so the Star newspaper has appealed to Kenyans to help raise funds to cover these costs.
More help has poured in for Beatrice Makokha, the Bungoma grandmother who is slowly being smothered by a gross, three-kilogramme tumour on her face.
Doctors at Bungoma Level 5 Hospital on Sunday conducted preliminary tests to determine the extent of the tumour. It has completely covered the 50-year-old woman's left eye and is rapidly blocking her nostrils.
Makokha’s breathing is laboured and medics said she does not have long to live if the tumour, which has grown over 20 years, is not removed urgently.
She is her family's sole breadwinner.
On Sunday morning, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati visited Makokha at her home in Stabicha in Kimilili.
He accompanied her to Bungoma Level 5 Hospital for preliminary tests. The costs were covered by the county.
“They will do a CT scan or MRI which will determine whether to refer her to a neurosurgeon, oncologist or any specialist,” Governor Wangamati said.
"I wish to thank the Star Newspaper for highlighting the story of Mama Beatrice. I have spoken to the management of MTRH Eldoret in readiness for her admission should findings at the County Referral Hospital require so.
"We've registered her on NHIF to ease the burden of healthcare," the governor added.
The Eldoret-based MTRH confirmed it was ready to take up the case and would do the surgery at no cost.
“The hospital has decided if Makokha is admitted here, her surgery or treatment will be done at no cost to her,” public relations officer Consolate Chepchirchir said.
However, Makokha will accrue other surgery-related and long-term post-operative care costs not covered by the waiver.
The Star newspaper has appealed to Kenyans to help raise funds for her, to cover these costs.
"We urge well-wishers to help Beatrice breathe with ease by making donations towards her medical bill," the Star said in a statement released on Saturday.
If you are interested in helping Beatrice, you can send your donations to M-Pesa Paybill number 922379, under the account name The Star.
The Star has also made it clear all proceeds will be directed entirely to Beatrice Makokha's medical bills and care.
Someone out there can give her a smile back. You can reach out and help through Namalwa Jenty on 0705 331 763.
Makokha’s face began swelling 21 years ago in January 2000 accompanied by a sharppain that would not go away.
“It felt like my eye was being stabbed with a knife and I just couldn’t stop rubbing it. The rubbing would slowly get intense and vigorous until my eye turned red," Makokha, who is 50-years-old, told the Star during an interview.
When the swelling persisted, she went to Kitale Referral Hospital. Doctors found no problem with the eye and advised she take painkillers.
"The scan showed nothing was wrong with my eye and head, so the doctors prescribed painkillers for the perceived migraine,” she said.
The swelling defied the painkillers. Makokha's face swelled even more. The headache became unbearable forcing her to seek a second check-up.
“I went back to Kitale Referral Hospital and was referred to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret for further medication,” she said.
Makokha did not go to MTRH. She said she didn't have the money.
Instead, she went to a private hospital in Kimilili where she was admitted for eight months.
“I was diagnosed with a rare growth. I stayed in the hospital for eight months but there was no improvement so I was told to go home.”
Makokha gave birth to 14 children, eight of them have died.
"Right now, the swelling has grown so huge that I can't breathe with ease. It has covered my right nostril," she says.
“I have difficulties in breathing. I can only breathe through one nostril. At night, I sleep on the right side because on the left side of the swelling makes breathing worse.”
Makokha is appealing for financial help for surgery. She takes painkillers.
She appealed to well-wishers to come to her rescue. She says she has not given up on finding a medical solution.
But Beatrice has never given up. She believes that kind-hearted people out there can end her pain, restore her face and let her breathe.
(Edited by V. Graham)