Some of the Kenyans who had flown to India for treatment have told of their tribulations after the government suspended passenger flights between Kenya and the Asian country following a surge in Covid-19 infections there.
In an interview with the Nation from India, Moses Muchemi described the agony majority of Kenyans in India are currently enduring.
“We are suffering. Maisha hapa imekuwa ngumu (life here is unbearable)”, he said
Currently stranded in Saket, Delhi, Mr Muchemi said the Kenyan patients have formed a WhatsApp group where they have been expressing their woes in foreign land and encouraging each other. He said the WhatsApp group has around 80 patients who are facing similar predicaments.
On verge of starvation
“Some of us are on the verge of starvation having exhausted the money we had… we had not anticipated the flight suspension and the ripple effect has been devastating,” said Mr Muchemi.
Giving a personal experience, the patient said he had been forced to move out of the hospital where had sought treatment as he could not afford the hefty bills.
“It used to cost me Sh30,000 a day to stay in hospital. I had move out and rent an apartment for which I am paying Sh3,000 a day,” said Mr Muchemi.
He is sharing the apartment with another friend for night stay only and the duo have to buy food and drinks from their pockets.
“That is the only way those affected can be able to survive. In fact, we are staying at the cheapest apartment available to save on costs,” he added.
Initially, he was informed that his medical treatment would cost around Sh400,000, but he was to incur double the amount to undergo surgery after landing in India.
“My parents have been forced to secure a loan to finance my treatment and stay in India. Friends have also been of great help,” said the frustrated patient.
He admitted that the stay in India is taking a huge toll on majority of the patients held up in the foreign country.
“We just want to go home. Life has become a big challenge,” added Mr Muchemi.
The patient said some of his colleagues had held fund raisers to facilitate their treatment in India and are now surviving on a shoe string budget.
Mr Muchemi appealed to the government to find a way of bringing them back home while adhering to the set Covid-19 safety protocols.
“Another option is to support our stay in India by offering stipends to the patients who are in misery,” he pleaded.
Thousands of Kenyans, especially cancer patients, travel to India to seek specialised treatment.