Nairobi — The rich cry too. In a first of firsts, a suspected cholera outbreak in Nairobi seems to be getting everyone talking after it hit an unlikely class - the middle-class and the elite.
Two Cabinet Secretaries, a Principal Secretary and hundreds of delegates in the country's business circle were hit by cholera-like symptoms last week which got everyone scrambling to their feet to look for solutions, an explanation even. This is after they attended a trade event at the KICC where the outbreak was suspected to have sprouted from.
The national government through the Director of Medical Services at the Health Ministry Dr Jackson Kioko expressed his disappointment Saturday at the county's slow response to the outbreak. He also said he that it was shameful for a city to suffer from a disease so outdated such as cholera.
As if turning the table on the high and mighty with cholera was not enough, those affected have also had to suffer yet another problem that only the poor do - there haven't been any available beds in private hospitals in the city.
"I went to MP Shah on Friday night exhibiting cholera symptoms. I was to be admitted but there was no space in the hospital. They had to send me home," Capital FM photo-journalist Muthoni Njuki, who had attended the Thursday trade fair at KICC, said.
The next day, Muthoni, whose symptoms were getting worse by the minute needed speedy help. She says she went out looking for other private hospitals to be admitted but could not find admission space. And she was not alone in the search as she met others in a similar situation.
"All private hospitals in Nairobi are full. I was supposed to have been admitted but I couldn't get any bed. Apart from MP Shah, I had gone to Aga Khan Hospital, Avenue Hospital, Mater Hospital and Nairobi West but nothing; I could not get a bed."
Upon arrival at Mater Hospital, Muthoni said doctors asked her where else she had scouted for bed space so that they could know where to refer patients who had been in waiting.
"I met others at the hospital that had attended the event but couldn't get booked in a private hospital," Muthoni said from her Nairobi Women's hospital bed where she had luckily been admitted, a day after discovering she was sick.
Kidero said that 336 people were already being treated for the symptoms.
The KICC incident comes a month after another outbreak was reported at the Weston hotel where more than 40 delegates were taken ill and rushed to various hospitals.