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City girl abandoned by mum at KNH bravely battles kidney ailment – PHOTOS

A six-year-old child has been battling a chronic kidney disease at Kenyatta National Hospital for nearly two years after her mother abandoned her at the facility.

Everlyne Akoth was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome and admitted to KNH on December 7, 2014, when she was four years old. She requires daily dialysis as she awaits a kidney transplant.

However, according to the nurses, the transplant might not happen as her young mother fled after she realised her daughter had a chronic disease, which comes with huge cost implications.

Renal nurse Abijah Kiriba says: “Her uncle and grandmother would come to stay with her then they all left because the condition was too much for them. We understand her mother went back to Homa Bay County and has another child.”

She added: “Her grandfather is in Kibera but he said he is ailing and too frail to take care of Everlyne. Since then, we have been with her here.”

Ms Kiriba said the hospital has tried to speak to the family on modalities of having Eva, as they fondly refer to her, to get a transplant.

PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

“She needs a new kidney but her family says they can’t go ahead with it. Now, we do not know what to do. We cannot let her go; neither can we let her out of dialysis or treatment. Otherwise, she will die,” she said.

DONATE KIDNEY

Ms Kiriba said that one of Everlyne’s maternal uncles was willing to donate a kidney but lack of funds for the required tests and transplant was holding them back.

As such Everlyne will be on dialysis for the rest of her life or until she gets the kidney donation and transplant.

During dialysis, a catheter is put in her stomach that introduces a sterile cleansing fluid into her body to help filter the waste. Everlyne’s stomach lining acts like a natural filter and fluid containing toxins then come out through the tube.

She goes through seven sessions of such dialysis daily, each an hour long. This costs about Sh3,000 daily – inclusive of the dialysis and hospital charges – but excluding meals and drugs. Her bill now stands at Sh3 million.

The nurses who give her the life-saving dialysis also double up as her mother. In fact, she refers to all of them as “mama”.

It is these nurses, who have bought her clothes, some from their own children, and once in a while take her for walks around the hospital.

But even then, these nurses can only be with her during their shifts and once this is done, they leave her to the next nurse.

In the two years, Everlyne has made friends with fellow kidney disease patients. When the we visited the Paediatric Specialised Unit (PSU) last week, there were two other children admitted in the ward.

Unfortunately, some of these friendships end when one of them is discharged or, worse, passes on.

PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

PASSED ON

This was the case when we visited the PSU last week Thursday when one of Everlyne’s friend—a four-year-old young girl with curly black hair—passed on right in front of her.

The young girl who died had her bed next to Everlyne’s. She developed breathing problems shortly after a meal. Nurses and the attending doctor tried to resuscitate her for nearly ten minutes, as her father looked on in shock.

Everlyne watched it as it happened despite a nurse trying to distract her. On realising her friend was gone, she climbed back to her bed in silence as the nurses drew a white sheet over the body of her erstwhile friend.

The nurses say Everlyne cannot go outside the ward because of the risk of her getting infections. As such, these four walls serve as her bedroom, play area and lounge. In fact, her bed is surrounded by all the things she owns—dolls, toys, sweaters, toothbrush—all donated by the nurses and other well-wishers.

“Does your phone have games?” she asks a visitor softly in Kiswahili, her eyes glistening.

She finds a colouring game in the phone and breaks into a toothy smile that exposes two missing teeth on her lower gum.

Despite not having been to class, she knows the colours well.

Everlyne’s calm nature is unsettling for a visitor in the ward, especially considering that this ward is the only home she has.

“She is a very sharp girl, very resilient, and we would like to see her get better. However, our hands are tied because we do not have the funds for the transplant,” Ms Kiriba adds.