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Boy helped by Uhuru to seek treatment stuck in India over bill

A boy who was enabled by President Uhuru Kenyatta to travel to India for a kidney transplant is now stranded overseas after his family failed to raise Sh2.8 million to clear hospital bills.

The Artemis Hospital in Haryana has confiscated 15-year-old Brian Karuga’s and his mother, Ms Ruth Njeri’s, passports and other travel documents since his discharge on June 20.

According to Ms Njeri, they were forced to give up the documents because they were short of the Sh6 million needed for the treatment.

They had paid a deposit of Sh4 million, hoping to raise the remainder later. However, they have not been able to do so.

Now, they cannot afford to buy the much-needed immunosuppressant medication the boy needs to protect transplanted organs from rejection by his body.

UHURU’S CONTRIBUTION

The Sh2.6 million raised from the public through a funds drive in September last year, following the publication of Karuga’s story in the Daily Nation’s DN2, with the President contributing Sh1 million, had fallen short.

This is after doctors at the Indian hospital changed Karuga’s treatment programme after his kidneys started failing. This meant they had to fly in an extra donor to give a part of a liver.

Not even a Sh3 million top-up from a second fundraiser held in March could offset the bill. Most of it ended up catering for travel costs, the countless tests for the donors and recipient and accommodation.

He underwent a successful duo-transplant of the kidney and liver on May 17. But with these additions the bill had tripled to more than Sh5 million.

BILLS

A third fundraising held on July 10 to top up the funds only raised Sh537,000. Ms Njeri says most of it went into offsetting part of their accommodation bills.

When the Nation spoke to Ms Njeri on the phone on Thursday, she was crying. They were back in hospital after Karuga was taken ill following what is suspected to be a possible transplant rejection.

Ms Njeri says that with this new admission, they have been asked to deposit another Sh600,000 —money they do not have. They owe money to the guest house where they have been staying.