Shame of jobless doctors wasting away

Mourners pay their last respects to Dr Fredrick Muoki Wambua at Ketululu Village in Machakos County

Mourners pay their last respects to Dr Fredrick Muoki Wambua at Ketululu Village in Machakos County on February 3, 2023. Dr Muoki died by suicide at Kangundo Township last week. 

Photo credit: Pius Maundu

What you need to know:

  • Privately, doctors continue to painfully mourn their less decorated colleague, Dr Wambua Muoki. This young doctor did not get the chance to build an illustrious career or leave an unforgettable legacy.
  • Not because he didn’t have what it took, but because depression reared its ugly head and suicide snatched him away before he even started. 

Dear doctor,

I have noticed that my eyesight is not as good as it was before, and I think it is because I work on the computer from morning to evening. If I'm not on my computer, I'm on my phone, so I'm always staring at a screen at any given time. If it’s the computer that is causing the problem, is there a way to reverse it? Can it be prevented?

Dear reader,

What you are experiencing is called computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. Figures on a screen are usually not well defined — the contrast with the screen back ground is reduced and the glare of the screen plus reflections, all make your eye muscles work harder when looking at screens. Also, the distance from the screen and the angles used can compound the problem. In addition, a lot of screen time can cause the eyes to become dry.

Anyone who spends two hours or more in front of a screen per day can develop computer vision syndrome. Any other eye problems like short sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism will seem worse when a person spends too much time in front of a screen. Even people with glasses or contact lenses can have problems with computers and other screens.

The symptoms include headaches, straining of the eyes, blurred vision, dry eyes with a feeling of having something in the eye, and neck and shoulder pain from poor seating posture. In many people, the symptoms reduce after they stop using screens for a long time. In a few people, however, the problems may remain.

To correct the problem, you may need glasses or contact lenses, which are specifically made for computer use, visual training exercises and proper computer viewing. The middle of the computer screen should be about 20 degrees below your eye level, and 40-75cm away from you. The computer should be placed in a position to avoid glare from overhead lights and windows, and if possible, use antiglare screens. After every 20minutes of screen use, look into the distance for about 20 seconds to allow your eyes to refocus. Take a break from the screens after two hours of continuous use. Also, blink frequently to prevent your eyes from drying out and keep yourself well hydrated. Every so often, spend time outside, because natural light relaxes the eyes. You can also visit an ophthalmologist and/or an optometrist to have your eyes checked to see if there are any other vision problems like short-sightedness, which sometimes can be passed on genetically, or any other eye problems. It is advisable to have your eyes checked once every year.


There are numerous cancers such as breast, prostrate, lung, colon and cervix. How does a  physician diagnose this deadly disease?

Alnashir D Walji


Dear Alnashir,

There are many types of cancer and they can attack any organ in the body. Some cancers do not have any means of being screened, unfortunately, and testing for them is only carried out if they are suspected for one reason or the other. Every cancer that can be screened has tests that are specific for that kind of cancer such as pap smear and HPV test for cervical cancer; stool tests and colonoscopy for colorectal cancer; breast exam and mammography for breast cancer; endoscopy for oesophageal cancer; low-dose CT scan for lung cancer; physical exam, PSA (prostatic specific antigen) and ultrasound for prostate cancer. The only examination that may detect a number of cancers is a PET-scan (Positron Emission Tomography), though it carries some risk —  it may give you false positive results and it does not detect all cancers. The Kenya National Cancer Screening Guidelines, released in November 2018, are available online. Once the cancer screen is positive, or there is suspicion of cancer based on the symptoms, then further diagnostic examinations are carried out depending on the type of cancer and where it may have spread to.

Hello my name is Calistus. I have a skin problem caused by swelling all over my body every evening. What should I do?

Dear Calistus,

The swelling you are experiencing all over your body could either be due to an allergic reaction or fluid retention. An allergic reaction that causes swelling in the evening may be due to exposure to something that you only get into contact with in the evenings, or it may be the skin’s reaction to cold, also known as cold urticarial. This reaction causes an itchy rash on the skin and may lead to swelling of the hands or lips as a result of holding or taking something cold, respectively. A severe allergic reaction may cause swelling all over the body or swelling of the throat or tongue, and it requires urgent medical attention.

Fluid retention may occur as a normal consequence of sleep such as having a puffy face in the morning because of lying down the whole night or having a swelling dependent on your sleeping positive. Another cause of fluid build-up is underlying conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, some cancers or cancer treatments. With heart and kidney disease, the swelling may be more evident after sitting or lying down for long.

The best way to manage the swelling is to address the underlying problem. It is advisable for you to visit a doctor, for examination and diagnosis, so that you can be treated appropriately.

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