'Surprise' triplets blessing brings challenges for West Pokot couple

West Pokot mother asks for help after delivering triplets

What you need to know:

  • While the delivery process was smooth, the last 40 days have not been so.
  • The couple leads a humble life in Kapsimatia village, West Pokot County.

It has been 40 days since Vivian Chepkite, 30, delivered her triple bundle of joy.

April 11, 2024, was the day her household welcomed triplets who were ushered into their new world by skilful caregivers who administered a cesarean section at Kapenguria County Referral Hospital in West Pokot County. 

It followed a referral from Chepareria Sub-County Hospital, which she had visited after going into labour.

While the delivery process was smooth, the last 40 days of postpartum have not been so.


Vivian Chepkite and her husband Johnstone Losharubu hold their triplets at their home in Kapsimatia village, West Pokot County on May 12, 2024. 

Photo credit: Oscar Kakai | Nation Media Group

We find Chepkite seated in her grass-thatched house in Kapsimatia village, Prusum sub-location in West Pokot County, holding two of her newborn boys, competing to suckle her frail breasts.

A neighbour is holding the third triplet, a girl, kicking her minute legs, waiting for her turn to feed.

But there isn’t much milk for her in her mother’s breasts, and she may not be lucky by the look of things.

This is one thing that is worrying Chepkite and her husband, 32-year-old Johnston Losharipo, a bodaboda rider.

While she understands the nutritional value of exclusive breastfeeding for newborns for their first six months, she tells Nation.Africa, she is unable to breastfeed her babies because she feeds poorly due to hard economic times, and as a family, they can barely afford their upkeep.

The arrival of the triplets was a surprise, and the news in the delivery room was unexpected, the couple revealed to Nation.Africa.

“I didn’t know we would get triplets. I thought it was one child,” the mother says, adding that raising the kids has not been easy due to financial constraints.


Vivian Chepkite (right) with her neighbours hold the triplets outside a grass-thatched house in Kapsimatia village, West Pokot county on May 12, 2024.

Photo credit: Oscar Kakai | Nation Media Group

“At the theatre, I was told to bring clothes and I brought clothes for one baby only to be asked to bring more for the second child, and the third. I was surprised because I had nothing. How will I feed the children?” she posed.

The couple leads a humble life in the remote village. Chepkite had sold a chicken to raise the transport costs to Kapenguria Town, 100 kilometres away, to bring forth her triple bundle of joy.

Chepkite says she does not breastfeed the babies fully and is now appealing for help from well-wishers to come in and help with their upkeep.

She reveals that she started encountering challenges two weeks after going home.

“My breasts are dry and without milk. My babies always cry and compete to breastfeed. I need help,” she said, noting that the arrival of the triplets came with challenges, and it has become difficult for her to feed her family.

Their older son is three years old, and he, too, needs care.

Her village suffers an acute water shortage, and residents walk more than 20 kilometres to access it.

“We wake up at 6am to reach water sources at 11 am. When you send a bodaboda rider, they take a long before bringing the water yet I need it at all times. It is hectic and I'm hungry every other hour,” she says.


From right: Pokot gospel singer Christine Loyeye, Meboh Cheptoo and Freda Arusho hold the triplets inside at Vivian Chepkite's home in Kapsimatia village, West Pokot county on May 12, 2024.

Photo credit: Oscar Kakai | Nation Media Group

While she has received support from family, friends, and neighbours, it isn't enough for the struggling young couple. The newborns even lack bedding, and the environment is not conducive for them, she says.

"We never expected triplets. It is rare but it has happened. We will have to work hard to ensure they are strong and healthy until they mature."

“I have no cow or goat, and we are faced with a lot of problems in this area. Last year we didn’t harvest because of the failed rains. Friends helped us with food,” she reveals.

Before the triplets arrived, Chepkite worked as a casual labourer, where she would get between Sh50 and Sh100. With that, she can plan meals for her family. 

“I buy one cup of milk. Neighbours help me with some maize, sometimes we sleep hungry,” she says.

During our visit, well-wishers led by Pokot gospel singer Christine Loyeye made an impromptu visit to her home and donated foodstuff and other household items.

Loyeye learned about Chepkite’s case on social media and mobilised a donation drive from well-wishers.

Chepkite says the cost of bringing up the babies keeps rising as they need more milk formula and diapers or napkins.


Well-wishers donate foodstuffs to the family of Vivian Chepkite who delivered triplets. 

Photo credit: Oscar Kakai | Nation Media Group

“Doctors advised that they should buy powdered milk for them. It has become hard for her to raise the children as she cannot breastfeed well because of poor feeding as a new mother, and she is appealing for dairy cows,” said Loyeye.

The artist called on nutritionists to help advise on how to feed the kids. 

West Pokot County nutrition officer Leah Chelopay said babies should breastfeed exclusively for six months.

“Breastfeeding mothers need to be fed well so that they can breastfeed their babies well,” she said.

A local, Freda Arusho, said the family was experiencing the challenges of raising their newborns because of the hard economic times.

She said the triplet's birth was proof that West Pokot County had a high fertility rate.

A neighbour and family friend, John Tulel, says another mother in the village gave birth to quadruplets seven years ago.

He said in the Pokot culture, giving birth to many children was a sign of blessings and a good indication of a stable relationship for a couple.

“We are happy that despite the challenges we face, especially drought, we can still get such blessings,” he said.

Another neighbour, Joseph Metiach, said life in the village was tough.