December 6, 2021

we say it the way it is

Ugandan stuck in Nairobi hospital over bill

Rebecca Kituyi shares her experience with gender-based violence at Poplar Hospital in Ngara, Nairobi, on November 3, 2021.PHOTO/ Francis Nderitu/ Nation Media Group

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By Daily Nation

On September 12, this year Rebecca Kituyi went to visit her estranged husband at South B, in Nairobi County.

She was on her day off from her nanny job in South C. Ms Kituyi was to resume work on Monday morning.

That never happened. The Ugandan man with whom they have two children refused to let her go, asking her to inform her employer that she would report back on Tuesday.

Her pleas to release her fell on deaf ears.

Tuesday came and the script was similar. She was very angry with him and started questioning his actions.

“I asked him ‘why do you want me to lose my job?’” she narrates from a hospital bed in Poplar Hospital in Nairobi’s Ngara area.

Nanny job

“What are the children going to eat if I just sit here doing nothing, yet I came here to work?” she says.

The 25-year-old went to Kenya in November last year for the nanny job and the man with whom they had lived together for six years before separating, followed in February this year. He rented a room in South B.

He got a waiter job for a few days at a Nairobi hotel. Thereafter, he started surviving on menial jobs. Up until October, she spent KShs2,200 from her KShs8,000 salary to pay his rent. The man only paid rent for two months.

At the time of their heated exchange, her sister who is a housewife and lives nearby, visited. Instead of letting the sisters converse, he sent her to South B shopping centre to buy chicken. That was past 11am.

As soon as she left, the man jumped over his wife with a kitchen knife and started stabbing her while sitting on her lap. Meanwhile, he covered her mouth with one hand, incensed by her insistence to return to her work station.

 “It’s unexplainable how I got the energy and strength to push him away. Maybe God was with me that day,” she says.

He fell to the ground while she got to the door and ran out. He too got the chance to run away.

Ms Kituyi struggled to find her way to the highway where she hoped to get help. By then, her intestines were out, she says. She just pushed them back in and kept walking. But she was overwhelmed. She lost consciousness and fell down on the road.

When she came to her senses on September16, she found herself at the intensive care unit at a hospital in South B. The doctors then informed her of their plan to transfer her to another hospital where she would get specialised treatment.

She was, on the same day, moved in an ambulance to Poplar Hospital where she spent six days in the high dependency unit.

The hospital’s head of nursing Vivian Okutoyi, says her bowel was ruptured. She notes that she underwent correctional surgery to repair her bowel and has since been on specialised care.

For the 48 days Ms Kituyi has been here, her bill has accrued to KShs886,116 ( about UGX28 million).

Of the bill, a share of KShs 85,000 (about UGX2.7 million) was deposited by the previous hospital and the rest paid by her father. As of November 12, her pending bill was KShs958,116 (about UGX30 million).

By now, her bill would have hit more than KShs1million (about UGX31 million) had it not been for the gracious physician, nutritionist, psychologist, obstetrician/gynaecologist and gastroenterologist seeing her, who opted to waive her fees considering her status.

The trauma has psychologically disoriented her. This has been worsened by the sudden disappearance of her family members.

“My sister stopped visiting two weeks ago. I also last saw my dad in October when he came with police officers to record my statement. I was told he (estranged husband) had been arrested and taken to Jogoo Road Police Station (Makadara),” she says.

“My father is a pastor, I don’t know whether he got stressed up looking for help to clear my bills and decided to instead go spread the word,” the rather jovial Ms Kituyi says with an easy laugh.

She says the last time they saw each other, he had listed all the places he had sought assistance from without success, including the Uganda High Commission to Kenya.

“He said ‘I am tired. I am new here and I’m being tossed around without any help in sight. I am so broke right now, I don’t even have fare to go back to Uganda,’” she says of her father who had travelled from Uganda to get her out of the hospital.

She says she misses her children but what troubles her the most is how to get out of the hospital and find a job to cater for them.

These thoughts are part of the mental turbulence that has turned her psychological status upside down.

Mental health

The hospital’s head of nursing says she has been under the watch of a psychiatrist and would need the check-ups for the next three months to stabilise her mental health.

But for now, she is in a stable condition for discharge. How, is the biggest headache as the bill has to be cleared before the hospital releases her.

“Most of the time I’m crying. I’m always thinking about the future of my kids. I spoke with them two weeks ago and I felt tortured being in hospital with no money to send to my mother to provide for them,” says Ms Kituyi who was supposed to be released on November 5.

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