Obama brother may have cholera

Wednesday March 25 2009

Malik Obama, stepbrother to U.S. President Barrack Obama. he is receiving treatment at the Siaya District Hospital after suffering from diarrhoea. Photo/FILE

Malik Obama, stepbrother to U.S. President Barrack Obama. he is receiving treatment at the Siaya District Hospital after suffering from diarrhoea. Photo/FILE 


A step-brother of US President Barrack Obama is in hospital with a suspected case of cholera.

Mr Malik Abong’o Obama was taken to Siaya District Hospital in Kenya's Nyanza province suffering from diarrhoea.

According to a doctor at the hospital who spoke to the Nation on condition of anonymity, it would take up to 18 hours to get the results of laboratory tests, and until then a cholera infection could not be ruled out.

But the Siaya District Medical Superintendent Jackton Omoto downplayed the matter, saying that Mr Abong’o was admitted to the hospital with ordinary diarrhoea. “People should not speculate on the matter since his case is a simple diarrhoea case like any other,” he said.

According to Dr Omoto, Mr Abong’o was taken to the hospital by police officers attached to their Nyang’oma Kogelo home in Siaya District after he complained of diarrhoea at midday on Wednesday.

When contacted on phone, Mr Abong’o declined to comment on his illness. He said he was not been pleased by the coverage his family had been getting from the local press.

His hospital admission comes almost a week after his farm worker, Daniel Namai, was admitted to hospital with cholera.

Mr Namai was discharged towards the end of last week, with doctors confirming that he had been diagnosed with cholera and successfully treated.

Mr Abong’o is one of the closest to the US president from the Kenyan branch of the Obama family. He was part of the family delegation to Barack Obama’s inauguration as US President in January.

Various hospitals

He also represented the family at the wedding of Barack and Michelle Obama in 1992 ad was one of the groomsmen.

If his case is confirmed, it will bring to 15, the number of people in the area admitted to various hospitals with cholera or related illnesses.

Dr Omoto added that this month alone, cholera cases have been reported in Malele Village, Kogelo Village in Karemo Division and Kamuok in Wagai Division in Siaya.

Siaya district diseases surveillance officer James Sande last week said that since the beginning of the month, a total of 14 cases have been reported in both Siaya and the neighbouring Ugenya district, which was recently hived off Siaya.

Ambira sub-district hospital in Ugenya district has reported five cases, with four confirmed, Nyathengo health centre has reported two cases and Siaya district hospital has reported seven cases, said Mr Sande.

The diseases surveillance officer said most of the cases reported had a history of movement from cholera prone areas of Kisumu West and Kisumu East districts.

He said that officers have been deployed to the areas to handle the cases and ensure that the disease did not spread.

Mr Sande said that they were offering first-line treatment, but added that more supplies of the drugs were required to handle the increasing number of patients.

On Wednesday afternoon, public health officials drove around the dusty Siaya Town streets with loud speakers mounted on a vehicle, warning the residents that cholera had struck the area.