Pokot girl detained in hospital over Sh100,000 medical bill

Thursday July 09 2020

Chemtwa Nakwang’a, 12, from East Pokot recuperates at a Nakuru hospital on July 4, 2020. She has a heart condition and requires an urgent surgery. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


A 12-year-old girl from East Pokot has been detained at a Nakuru hospital over Sh100,000 bill.

Chemtwa Nakwang’a, who has a heart condition, has been at the hospital for the past one week. Her bill increases by Sh10,000 per day and the hospital is demanding she pays at least Sh75,000 before she is released.

Nakwang’a, who is supposed to undergo a heart surgery, is unable to raise Sh1million.

“Even if they keep me here for one month, I will not be able to pay the money. My father died when I was two years old while my mother remarried after the death of my father and left me at the mercy of my relatives,” she said.


The12-year-old girl from Tiaty constituency in East Pokot, Baringo County developed a heart condition which has affected her growth and general body development.


Doctors say she has severe rheumatoid cardiovascular disease which requires an urgent surgery to save her life.

When her condition deteriorated, she was rushed to Chemolingot Dispensary, some 40 km away from her home on a boda boda and later transferred to Nakuru. Well-wishers raised Sh6,000 for ambulance charges to Nakuru where she was diagnosed with a heart condition.

Her cousin Joshua Kanachom told Nation that Nakwanga does not have a health insurance cover.

“Since we don’t have a National Hospital Insurance Fund card, we are required to pay Sh1million for her to undergo an urgent heart surgery,” said Kanachom.

Nakwang’a has no birth certificate, a vital document required during registration for NHIF.

 “The hospital says she will only be discharged if we clear the Sh100,000 bill,” said Kanachom.


Through an interpreter, Nakwang’a says she undergoes a lot of pain. As she speaks, she tries to feel her heart beat as if to check whether it is working well and wonders where her help will come from.

“This is where my heart is aching, she says. I can neither stand nor sleep, it is very painful,” she says.

The heart condition has affected her health. She has spent most of her early life lying on bare ground in Tiaty. She has never been to school. She hopes to go to school.

“I ask well-wishers to help me raise money to undergo surgery. I want to go to school like other girls,” she says through an interpreter.

“I shall one day recover and go to school. I would not like any child to undergo what I’m going through, it is very painful,” she said. ET