Coronavirus kills top kidney specialist

Dr Anthony Were Omolo during a past interview. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The doctors union on Saturday paid tribute to the country's top kidney specialist after his death from Covid-19, describing him as as "teacher and mentor to many".

Dr Anthony Were Omolo, a nephrologist and the head of the renal unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital, died on Friday night. He was 64 years old.

Dr Omolo was also president of the African Association of Nephrologists and the Deputy Director of the East African Kidney Institute.

"He leaves a great legacy," the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) said in its tweet.

Dr Omolo was the 11th specialist doctor in Kenya to succumb to complications related to the coronavirus disease.

A total of 2,352 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus so far, out of which 1,177 are male and 1,175 female.

Thirty have died from the disease, according to the Health ministry.

Family’s plea

Dr Omolo was married to Dorothy Were and had three daughters and a son, Dr Nick Were.

At his rural home in Bwaja village in Kasipul, Homa Bay County, his family said he spent 10 days in the intensive care unit (10).

On Friday, he told one of his sisters that he was doing well and would soon be discharged.

His eldest brother Hebel Owidi called on the government to ensure the safety of frontline workers in the fight against Covid-19.

Mr Owidi said they have lost “a servant of the people whose goodness was unmatched”.

"The government should ensure provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) so as not to expose health workers and their families to the disease," he said.

Further, he urged the public to follow regulations on the containment of Covid-19 because "the virus is here and does not discriminate”.

Dr Omolo’s sister, Jane Rundu, remembered her brother for his 10-year philanthropy initiative aimed at uplifting widows in the rural area.

"He had a programme for the weekly financial support of widows in this village. The widows have been robbed of a helper who stood with them through thick and thin," Ms Rundu told the Nation on Saturday.

Ms Pamela Otaa, one of the beneficiaries of the programme, said, "I would use the money to buy food and send my children to school. One of my children is currently at St Paul's University in Nairobi. We will miss him dearly. We are thankful for the good he did.”

In 2007, the doctor vied for the Kasipul Kabondo constituency seat on a Liberal Democratic Party ticket but lost to Oyugi Magwanga who vied on an ODM ticket.

Background

Omolo was born and raised in Uganda, where his parents worked.

He was a brilliant student, according to his brother Mr Owidi, who said he emerged top in Uganda's Certificate of Primary Education exams of 1968. 

He went on to join Makerere University but due to an onslaught on university students by the Idi Amin administration, he transferred to the University of Nairobi.

It was at the UoN that Omolo acquired his Bachelor of Medicine and later a Master in the same. Afterwards, he practiced medicine for two years in Nakuru and Naivasha.

Dr Omolo later won a scholarship to Oxford University, where he specialised in kidney treatment.

Upon returning to Kenya in 1982, he got married and then flew back to the UK, where he worked for five years.

Upon coming back to Kenya, he worked as a lecturer at the University of Nairobi.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.