What you need to know:
- Interestingly, Jacobs with estimated fortunes worth Sh550 million in his young career so far, recuperated at Uhai Neema Community Hospital where the consultation fee is only Sh600.
- In stark contrast, another star at the Kip Keino Classic, Namibia’s teenage sensation Christine Mboma, who collapsed on the Kasarani track after pulling a muscle, was taken to one of Nairobi’s five-star hospitals.
Italy’s Olympic 100 metres champion Marcel Jacobs left for Rome on Monday after spending three days at Uhai Neema Community Hospital in Nairobi following a case of suspected food poisoning.
The champion was the biggest draw in last Saturday’s Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour meeting but suddenly pulled out in the morning and was rushed to Uhai Neema where he was admitted in the emergency ward.
Jacobs is a good example of humility and is always ready to hold hands with his friends, the latest example being his hospitalization.
Uhai Neema Community Hospital is managed by Friends of Italy, a non-governmemtal organization.
The Olympic gold medallist, who is also the world indoor champion, left for home confident enough that even the less privileged of Kenya have access to quality medical facilities.
Jacobs felt much at home with a stream of visitors including the fastest man in Africa, Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala, winner of Saturday’s 100m dash at Kasarani in which he had anticipated to face the Italian.
“The basket included fresh fruits, all imported Italian items including olive oil, pesto, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, Vitamin ‘C’ drinks and fresh bread from Art Cafe,” said Noordin.
“We had to represent Kenya and Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed was involved,” he added.
This really touched Jacobs who remarked on his Instagram handle: “Congratulations (Omanyala) on your race. I wish I had been there to race with you. Thanks for coming to visit me. Thanks also to your family and to all the wonderful people there. See you soon.”
The Italian Athletics Federation was equally grateful.
“We would like to thank the staff and doctors, Gianfranco Morino and Washington Njogu, who have been very attentive, friendly and professional with Marcell and with all of us. We also thank the staff of the Embassy of Italy, in particular the security officer, who have given us assistance in this whole affair,” the federation said.
Interestingly, Jacobs with estimated fortunes worth Sh550 million in his young career so far, recuperated at Uhai Neema Community Hospital where the consultation fee is only Sh600.
In stark contrast, another star at the Kip Keino Classic, Namibia’s teenage sensation Christine Mboma, who collapsed on the Kasarani track after pulling a muscle, was taken to one of Nairobi’s five-star hospitals.
But not Jacobs who trusted doctors and staff at the simple Uhai Neema Community Hospital.
He fed on the same menu as other patients, used the same utensils and bathroom.
He was much at home.
Jacobs, 26, was expected to bring the curtains down in the final race of the Kip Keino Classic but was taken ill from an intestinal infection from suspected food poisoning after a day out with some Italian compatriots who had received him.
Food poisoning complications know no time, and so the Italians rushed him to Uhai Neema Hospital where outpatient treatment fee rarely exceeds Sh1,000, including medicines.
It must be the cheapest hospital that Jacobs has been treated in, but the Catholic-run hospital for the poor living in surrounding areas of Ruaraka, like Baba Ndogo and Lucky Summer, saved him in an eye-opening experience on simplicity and humility of life in Kenya.
It was also a demonstration of improved medicare for the poor in this country.
People get sick, and as the only credible hospital between Gertrude in Muthaiga and Roysambu roundabout, a distance of 10 kilometres, Uhai Neema Community Hospital has a reputation of having a long list of "superstars" on its sick-list, but Jacob is the first foreigner to grace the hospital.
Yours truly was recently taken there for emergency treatment following a road accident, and my rescuer friend, Joel Muchiri of the WRC Safari Rally, paid just Sh1,700 for consultation, X-ray, emergency admission and pharmacy.
There was no need for admission because the hospital offered treatment first ahead of money, unlike most private hospitals.
Founded by World Friends in partnership with the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi in 2009, Uhai Neema Community Hospital is located opposite the Safari Park Hotel footbridge, dwarfed by the Queens of Apostles Catholic Church.
It is clean, and the staff is highly professional.
Jacobs, one of the biggest sporting sensations, is sponsored by Asics and New Balance who contribute millions of dollars in endorsements.
Perhaps when he is fully healed, he could adopt the hospital as his first known charity, especially helping out with setting up an ICU unit.
"Our relationships with local slum-based clinics and organisations extend our care to those who need it the most, ensuring that money is never a barrier to adequate diagnosis and treatment," Uhai Neema Community Hospital say on their website.
"At Neema, patients from all walks of life find qualified professionals and quality care, especially in regards to mother and child health."