The National and County governments have been urged to carry out extensive research to unravel the cause of a strange phenomenon of residents of Mpirani village in Magarini Sub County, Kilifi County suffering from severe physical disabilities. At least ten percent of 2,500residents in the village suffer from various forms of disabilities which they seem to have no explanation about. Some mothers in the area give birth to babies with deformities despite attending their pre-natal clinic visits.
Mrs. Eunice Karisa, 27years has given birth to five children with deformities and this has left her unable to go out and work since she cannot leave them unattended. At her home in the village, she curdles her two year and three year old sons who are unable to walk on their own.
“My children have disabilities of the hands and legs and this has made me unable to go and work. I attended clinics when I was an expectant and the nurses always told me I was alright until when I gave birth, that is when I realized they are disabled,” she said.
Eunice lost her first two children at nine months and she is now left wondering why she cannot give birth to normal babies.
Mrs. Nyevu Jefa, another resident has been left to take care of her mother in law who has been bed ridden for close to five years, she cannot move her arms.
At another section of the village, Mrs. Jumwa Jefa has been bedridden for 12 years in a problem her husband Kitsao Jefa says that started as a scratching on her legs.
“She was healthy but the problem started as a small ailment and this is the twelfth year under her condition. We have visited all hospitals and she is bedridden, can’t move on her own,” he said.
The condition he adds has left his family poor and with no hope since he cannot leave her unattended to go for work.
Mrs. Simateni Charo who is the chairlady of the Magarini Disabilities Development Project, a local Community Based Organization (CBO) that caters for the welfare of people living with disability say that the community has remained poor and stagnant due to the conditions.
“We have more than 500victims and I represent them. Those under my care are 265 in the CBO, the situation is heartbreaking and the government should commission a research to ascertain the cause of the problem,” she said.
“Women give birth to children who are disabled and this makes it impossible for them to go out and work. We want the government to always do proper clinic care to expectant mothers so that if they detect a deformity on the unborn baby, they can know what to do,” she added.
Mrs. Charo said that the victims are even contemplating not to vote since every politician has been promising to look into their plight but they vanish once they are elected.
Mombasa lawyer and politician Carolyne Chilango said that the residents don’t know the genesis of the strange strain because they don’t live in a contaminated environment.
“The government should do research and mitigative measures taken since this situation has made the residents poor as parents cannot leave their affected children unattended. The National Council for Persons living with disabilities should also come in and help them get specialist services,” she said.
The Kilifi senatorial aspirant added that the victims also need to be assisted on the voting day so that they can elect people who will take care of their needs.
“These people are voters and our mother here has told us that she wishes someone to ferry her to a polling station during the General election,” she added.
The Kilifi County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for health Charles Dadu acknowledged the problem people living with disabilities go through adding that a research has been commissioned by his department to unravel the strange phenomenon.
“As we talk the Malindi Sub County hospital has been notified and they are carrying out research and have started by dispatching a team of doctors who will start by giving the victims therapy sessions. The whole exercise will take between three to six months,” he said.
He adds that the exercise is two pronged with the first component being to ascertain whether the problem is hereditary or if it is caused by pollution of the environment.
The victims are also being enrolled in the Universal Health Care Programme and the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
“We shall talk to residents to find out the basis of the problem then we shall go back to do an extensive scientific research. The study is also being undertaken in three other villages in Magarini Sub County,” he said.