Dr-Samuel-Omondi-OwinoCOVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the globe and has hampered socio-economic growth worldwide since early 2020. The virus has seriously hit a number of countries with India and Brazil having the highest number of infections in the current third wave.

Kenya on the other hand has also experienced an upsurge compared to the two previous waves. In Siaya County, some 282 infections have been registered out of 2,494 samples tested between 1st March, 2021 and 30th April, 2021 a period considered third wave, while 158 recoveries and 7 deaths recorded in the same period. This translates to 11% positivity rate compared to 3% and 9% for the 1st and 2nd wave respectively.

The County Government of Siaya Executive arm has recently been hit by the virus, hence recording a number of infections with both Senior and Junior Officers falling victim.

The county Directorate of Communication’s Hellen Nyanyuma managed to catch up with Dr. Omondi Owino, the Chief Officer Water who recently tested COVID-19 positive. Listen as Daktari narrates his experience.

Hellen: Welcome Doc and we thank God for walking you through one of the most difficult experiences in life, until now that you are recuperating at home. Receive our empathy on the condition.

Dr. Omondi: Thanks Hellen and to all that have prayed for me during my sickness

Hellen: I understand you received COVID-19 vaccine jab on the 15th March 2021 and you were later diagnosed with the virus on the 13th April, 2021. Can we have confidence in the jab?

Dr. Omondi: I have full confidence in Covid vaccine and encourage all that are eligible to go for the same. Vaccination protects us from severe forms of the disease and hospitalisation. I was yet to receive my second jab, and will go for it when due

Hellen: Vaccines are meant to prevent diseases and am sure you hadn’t imagined contracting the virus after getting the jab, what prompted you to be tested, was it the symptoms you had seen?

Dr. Omondi: Vaccination is one of the preventive measures we should undertake against COVID-19. I presented to hospital with signs of general body pains, slight cough, and the medical team in Siaya advised that Covid test be done, amongst other diagnostic tests. As it turned out, I was diagnosed as having Covid infection

Hellen: You were diagnosed and taken ill on the 13th April, 2021, a week later, your condition deteriorated with CT Scan revealing that your lungs were partly damaged.  Was there a probability that you had been infected long before you went for the test?

Dr. Omondi: I was diagnosed and placed on home based care, based on the signs and symptoms that I had at that time, which did not merit hospitalization. I was under constant monitoring by health teams in Siaya and Kisumu, as I shared with them vital statistics twice a day. It is due to this that they quickly picked a change in my condition and rushed me to hospital. It is apparent the disease progressed rapidly affecting my lungs and compromising my ability to breathe unaided. It is difficult to know when I actually got infected

Hellen: I remember on the 18th April, 2021 you were very active on a WhatsApp Group (Siaya C Engagement Forum) on topic Bed Occupancy at the Siaya County Referral Hospital wards, no one could suspect you were bed ridden and probably on oxygen. What level of medication were you under and what was the experience then?

Dr. Omondi: While on home based care I kept abreast of what was happening within the county and contributed to healthy discussions on various WhatsApp platforms. My condition took a downward turn later. During my ‘isolation at home’, I was on a standard package of care including antibiotics, various vitamin supplements, as was provided by health team.

Hellen: You received medication at JOOTRH, in Kisumu, which is a public hospital. Out of experience, would you recommend public hospital over private ones in matters pertaining COVID-19 treatment?

Dr. Omondi: I may not wish to compare public vs private facilities, but wish to state I got the BEST possible care. I was managed by a team from siaya (Dr Wagude, Consultant Physician), Kisumu (Dr Ndinya-physician, Dr Oduor- anaesthesiologist, Dr Neto- clinical pharmacist), all working with a wonderful team of medical officers, clinicians, nurses, nutritionists, lab technicians. I feel most thankful to the team, and reiterate I got best possible care

Hellen: Describe the level of medical care you received. Was it satisfactory and if so, was it influenced by your professional status being a doctor or ordinary Mwananchi can be assured of the same?

Dr. Omondi: It is true that I am known to a number of the professionals who attended to me, but during times when I was stable, I saw how the team attended to all patients that were at the isolation unit. All I have is renewed admiration for the health workers, they indeed go above and beyond call of duty.

Hellen: Please narrate the stages of medication you underwent from the time you tested positive until now, as you continue recuperating at home.

Dr. Omondi: From diagnosis and based on guidelines I was put on homebased care, with drugs and daily monitoring. When my condition changed, I was admitted and following professional assessment including laboratory workup and imaging (CT-SCAN), I was put on several drugs and supplemental oxygen. After the team determined I had improved, I was allowed home on medication, and rest. The County health teams in Kisumu and Siaya, continue following my progress and offering support until now.

Hellen: What was your family’s/colleagues’ and friends’ reaction when your situation worsened?

Dr. Omondi: Hellen, I wish my family, friends and colleagues would answer that. What I know is that I received overwhelming support and I am still amazed. I received a call from H.E the Governor Cornel Rasanga, encouraging me and offering his prayers. There was quick mobilization of specialised drugs and other commodities, and this was made possible by friends, colleagues, with special mention of Dr Wagude. Am thankful for what my friends did when I was most in need

Hellen: What parameters did the medics consider to reach the decision of discharging you?

Dr. Omondi: Am sure they used standard guidelines, including ability to breathe unaided, negative COVID-19 test and a follow-up plan.

Hellen: What instructions were you given while being discharged and do you have medical appointments for routine check-up?

Dr. Omondi: I am to continue recuperation at home, I share my vital readings and signs with the team, and will go for review as scheduled.

Hellen: Can you assure us that you are out of danger doc and your organs (lungs) which had been affected are functional?

Dr. Omondi:  I have been assured by the team that am on a good recovery path, am gaining strength and stamina daily, and look forward to complete recovery

Hellen: Do you have fears of infecting people you are occasionally close to like family members as you continue with the recovery process?

Dr. Omondi: I have been advised on standard precautions that I adhere to. Despite the negative COVID-19 test, we still must take precautions as COVID-19 is real and will be with us for quite some time

Hellen: As a medical practitioner, what are some of the gaps you identified while receiving medication?

Dr. Omondi: I was a patient, and I saw the best of our health system

Hellen: What can you tell other patients whose conditions may have deteriorated?

Dr. Omondi: I wish all that are sick quick recovery. Those infected need to work with the health teams, they will be cured

Hellen: What message do you have to the public on matters vaccination / COVID-19 jab, prevention, cure and living with the virus?

Dr. Omondi: We all need to adhere to periodic advice given to us by national or county leadership as regards prevention against COVID-19. Those that are eligible for vaccination should get the same when invited, it saves lives. Those that feel unwell should go to hospital for screening and care

Hellen: What has the experience taught you as an individual?

Dr. Omondi: I am still going through prayer messages and get well messages, I got well on riding on the prayers and support of family, friends and colleagues. Am most thankful to Almighty God for restoring my life

Hellen: – Thank you and all the best.