By Nuru Ahmed

With more than 70,000 cases of COVID-19, Kenya is among the African countries that have been hardest hit by pandemic.

However, the recovery rate is something to write home about with the number almost hiting the 50,000 mark.

Halima Muhammad, 62 years, who lives in Kibera slums in Nairobi county, is among those that have survived COVID-19.

Halima, a housewife and mother of seven children, got up in the morning of 16 Oct 2020 feeling unwell, thinking that she had malaria, typhoid, cough, flu, or pneumonia.

She had pains all over her body and her breath was difficult as her chest was all in pain. The difficulty in breathing made her so tired and weak.

“It was so horrible at night as I was wheezing like somebody who has asthma and at some point I could not talk, I was so scared. Luckily my son Rashid Yusuf had an inhaler as he has asthma. The inhaler helped me breath until morning,” Halima said.

On the following day my children Aminah Yusuf and Rashid rushed me to Meridian Equator hospital in Nairobi West.

Rashid said: “As we reached the hospital our mother was put on an oxygen cylinder to support her breath.We prayed nothing bad would happen to our mother.”

The nurses carried out different tests on Halima including pneumonia, pressure, diabetes, typhoid, tuberculosis and Covid-19.

When the results came out, Halima was found to have contracted the deadly coronavirus.

She stayed at Meridian Equator hospital for two weeks under oxygen regulations as she could not breath. She used different medications and supplements to support her recovery from coronavirus.

“At the hospital on oxygen, I sent a message to my husband who is out of the country. I told him I didn’t know whether I was going to make it and whatever happens, he should stay strong. He called me immediately and told me I was not going anywhere. He gave me moral support, love and care from a far which kept me strong,” said Halima.

“I prayed to God and stayed strong for my children and family. Coronavirus is real and people ought to take precautions as advised by the ministry of health.”

She advises people to stop ignoring the corona safety measures and precautions.

“The nurses are the ones in charge of everything in the wards. They come fully dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) incase of giving us medicine or adding another drip to save our lives,” Halima said.

“Doctors would come for only a few minutes to check on me and other patients, they don’t even get so close to you. I felt stigmatized from the doctors but had nothing to do.”

Halima admits that the death of two patients in the hospital sent shivers down her spine.

“God is good, I recovered and was discharged from the hospital on 31 oct 2020. I am very grateful to have a strong support system. My son and daughter were strongly there for me,” she adds.

Halima now advocates more strongly for people to protect themselves from coronavirus.

“I am not a careless person, yet I contacted the virus. Covid-19 has taught me to be much more careful in observing all the precautions such as hand washing, wearing a facemask, sanitizing, keeping physical distance and avoiding big gatherings or crowds.”

“I believe coronavirus will one day be a thing of the past, but it lies in all of our hands to make that happen. Please stay safe and let’s save the world.”