A fetid smell welcomes you to the hospital bed where she lies, curled under the sheets.
Her skin is seemingly clinging firmly onto her bones. She appears to have no flesh on her, especially on the limbs and she is not able to unfold her legs. Her skin, freckled with pinkish yellowish patches, is covered with oozing wounds.
Nine-year-old Eunice Wanjiku, hospitalised at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), is fighting what doctors suspect is scleroderma, an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue.
She was admitted to the hospital on Thursday upon the intervention of some concerned residents from her home in Baraniki, Kikuyu.
Dr Muriuki Waweru, who has come on board as part of the online community that is helping raise funds for Wanjiku’s treatment and has been keenly following the matter with her doctors at KNH, told the Nation on Tuesday, “on top of the condition, she is suffering from chronic malnutrition, and had ulcers of the mouth when she was admitted. Her stomach is the size of a fist”.
According to Dr Waweru, a team of doctors at KNH has been working on a treatment regimen for Wanjiku. He said the doctors are working on managing her pain and improving her nutrition. “She is showing signs of recovery but the doctors want to run more test to rule out other conditions. But not all the tests can be done at KNH,” he said.
According to Wanjiku’s mother, Teresia Mukami, her daughter had not eaten anything solid for the last two weeks before being admitted in hospital.
The mother said her daughter was born healthy but in February 2012 she observed the yellowy hue on her eyes that she had dismissed as an allergic reaction to dust was worsening so she took her to Kijabe hospital.
“They said it was something to do with her liver and it was going to heal on its own with time,” she said.
Ever since, they have been in and out of hospital. “Later on, I was too exhausted and broke to take her back to hospital,” she disclosed.