Appeal for oxygen machine for Form IV student stuck at Marsabit hospital

Diba Matacho

Marsabit Mixed Secondary School student Diba Matacho who has been on oxygen therapy for four years forcing him to get confined to his hospital bed. He needs a portable oxygen concentrator to get discharged from the hospital.

Photo credit: Jacob Walter I Nation Media Group

Relatives of a Form Four student being treated at Marsabit Referral Hospital for lung complications from tuberculosis have appealed to well-wishers to help save his life.

Master Diba Matacho, from Hula Hula in Marsabit Central sub-county, has struggled with the condition for three years and needs a portable oxygen concentrator machine.

Marsabit Referral CEO Liban Wako said Diba needs “at least Sh500,000 to buy a portable oxygen concentrator so that he can continue with his studies and normal life”.

Diba, a student at Marsabit Mixed Secondary School, fell ill in 2018, when he was diagnosed with chronic tuberculosis.

After five months on medication, his lungs collapsed and he developed lung fibrosis, forcing him to depend on oxygen therapy to survive.

The hospital referred him to Kirwa Mission Hospital in Meru before he was sent to Kenyatta National Hospital and finally to Nairobi Women’s Hospital for specialised treatment.

At Nairobi Women’s Hospital, he was introduced to strong drugs that cost Ss60,000 per month for three months. His condition improved slightly, reducing his oxygen dependency from 24 hours to eight hours a day.

But he stopped taking the drugs because he could not afford them. He returned to Marsabit Referral for support as he could not survive without an oxygen concentrator machine.

Diba Matacho

Marsabit Referral Hospital CEO Liban Wako (left) attending to an ailing Form Four student at his ward bed on November 15, 2022. He appealed to Kenyans to help the student buy a portable oxygen concentrator.

Photo credit: Jacob Walter I Nation Media Group

He has been depending on the kindness of Mr Wako, who offered to help him for free because of his disadvantaged economic background.

The oxygen machine at the hospital uses electricity and is down during outages, Mr Wako said.

Diba was unable to sit his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam the past three years and his peers are now in college or are doing something meaningful with their lives while he is stuck at the hospital.

Mr Wako helped Diba register for the KCSE as a private candidate so that he could redeem lost time.

A relative of Diba who said his life now revolves around the sick student said he is held captive by the unfortunate circumstances.

Diba, speaking with difficulty, only told the Nation that he had lost hope in life and counted every single moment he was alive.

He did not know he would make it this far and thought he would die at any time between 2019 and 2020.

He said he was grateful for Marsabit Referral administrators and especially Mr Wako, who, he said, had shouldered the burden as though he was a relative.

“I can't thank Liban Wako enough. He has always treated me like his own brother. If it were not for his kindness, I’d be dead today because my father and mother are too poor to afford the cost of my stay in this hospital for even a week,” Diba said.

Diba’s cousin, Mark Melkicha, told the Nation that his own life stopped so he could stay with him at Marsabit Referral.

Mr Melkicha, who is single, was also concerned that his own social life had been disrupted and his plans to marry were deferred for the sake of his cousin.

He appealed to local leaders and NGOs to help the ailing student get out of the hospital confines and continue with his life.