Philip Ogola, a humanitarian, on Monday, March 20 embarked on a courageous mission to save a young woman in Ruaka, Kiambu County, who was on the brink of taking her own life.
Well-wisher crosses 3 counties in rush to save 24-year-old lady's life
Philip Ogola braved the Nairobi protests and rushed to rescue the distressed lady after emergency responders failed to act
According to him, the 24-year-old lady had been drinking heavily since Friday and was contemplating the worst after a sexual assault ordeal and the alienation she faced from her family due to her mental illness.
Ogola who was alerted of the situation while in Athi River, Machakos County had reached out to the police, Ministry of Health, Amref, Kenya Red Cross and other emergency responders to intervene, but took it upon himself to rescue the woman despite the risk of having to travel through Nairobi, where Azimio protestors were engaging anti-riot officers in running battles.
Despite not getting assistance via suicide hotlines in Kenya, Ogola, with help from other well-wishers like Dr Catherine Kyobutungi, managed to coordinate the rescue mission.
He swiftly hailed a cab, navigated through the Nairobi Expressway, and made his way to Ruaka through Westands and Redhill Road. Meanwhile he kept communicating with the distressed lady over the phone to help her.
“When we got to Ruaka the lady’s phone was off and I was very scared,” Ogola recounted waiting anxiously. She eventually responded and directed him to her house.
Ogola then proceeded to escort the lady to Mathari Hospital, where she was admitted with help of Dr Mercy Karanja.
Ogola's actions have been praised on social media, with many commending him for his bravery and selflessness.
His intervention highlights the importance of mental health awareness and the need for a functional suicide hotline in Kenya.
"We cannot afford to lose more lives to suicide. The government and suicide help agencies must do more to improve their response time and increase access to mental health services.
"It is a tragedy that we do not have a functional suicide hotline in Kenya. We need to prioritize mental health and suicide prevention,” he said.
He challenged the government and suicide help agencies to improve their response to emergencies, particularly suicide prevention.
Ogola expressed disappointment that non of the suicide hotlines were able to help respond to the emergency, adding that one of the numbers he called went to a private citizen.
He also emphasized the need for mental health education to be disseminated to families, arguing that many families exacerbate mental health issues by stigmatizing and ostracizing affected members.
Editor's Note: Help is available, your life is valuable and you are not alone. Should you be struggling, don't hesitate to reach out to:-
- Befrienders Kenya suicide prevention hotline +254 722 178 177
- Niskize suicide prevention helpline 0900 620 800 or +254 718 227 440.
- Emergency Medicine Kenya Foundation's suicide prevention and crisis helpline 0800 723 253 (Free, nationwide service)
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