Medic recounts rescuing a stab victim in Kibera during 2022 elections

Though Okumu was able to get the man to a hospital, the victim did not survive

CFK Africa paramedic Nicholas Okumu on duty in Kibera, Nairobi County [Photo: Carol Meja]

Members of the Kibera community have hailed a medic working in the area after he bravely went into a volatile area to rescue an injured man.

Paramedic Operator Nicholas Okumu, who works for the non-profit organization CFK Africa, on August 15 helped evacuate a young man from the Kisumu Ndogo area who was stabbed in the chest, allegedly after election results were announced.

“CFK Africa has been around for four election periods in Kenya, serving the community in all of them. I was on shift during the election period, and I was called to respond to a case of a young man who had been stabbed.

"I would be lying if I said that I didn’t fear going to Kisumu Ndogo, as I had heard there were pockets of unrest in the area, but I told myself that the person who had been stabbed needed me, and I was the only person who could help him; this is what always gives me the courage to respond no matter the situation,” Okumu recounted.

Though Okumu was able to get the man to a hospital, he did not survive.

Nicholas is helping run one of the few ambulance services in Kibera, the largest informal settlement in the country. He has evacuated over 200 people in Kibera and over 1,000 in his career.

When he was younger, Okumu wanted to just be an ambulance driver, but after he realized that he could not help patients with medical emergencies unless he was also a paramedic, he sought training from the Kenyan Red Cross in 2018.

"With time, I realized that, as a driver, I wasn’t allowed by law to assist the medic in the ambulance in case of a serious emergency that needed more than one person’s help. This is when I decided to enroll in a Paramedicine course at the Kenya Red Cross in 2018. Later, I got a job with CFK Africa as a Paramedic Operator," he stated.

Okumu said that he often must “debrief” after a patient dies, but the job is still worth it despite the stress.

“Words cannot explain what helping human beings in distress is like, and no amount of money can be equated to the sense of purpose I feel each time I am at work,” he said, “Other times, it’s sad, very sad when a patient dies, but I feel honored to have been the person that tried to help them. Either way, I love my job.”

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