By Prudence Minayo
Dr. Andrew Mulwa is the Ag, Director of Medical services, Head Directorate Preventive and Promotive at the Ministry of Health. His journey to becoming one of the country’s top doctors was fraught with obstacles. From getting a Y in KCSE, battling life threatening conditions to nearly pursuing a different course in Japan.
Two events cemented his desire to become a doctor. When he was in class four, he became very sick. Since there were no hospitals around, most sick children would stay at home until they got better then return to school. However, he did not improve and after a few days his parents thought he was dead. Luckily, an educated villager who was passing by went to see what was happening and realized he was alive. He was rushed to Makueni Hospital where he received treatment.
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The second incident happened in 1998 when he was a form two student. He woke up and was unable to get out of bed. His friend thought he was exaggerating to avoid morning preps. He was immobile, soiled himself and even passed out. They discovered he was really sick around 7pm. He doesn’t even remember being rushed to Makueni hospital where he regained consciousness a few days later. He believes that he wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for the professionals who treated him that day.
He sat for his KCSE for the first time at Makueni Boys in 2000. Unfortunately, the results got cancelled with claims that he showed his classmates the Chemistry Practical. In an interview with KTN, he said that he couldn’t remember sharing the exam with anyone. He was index one and was seated in a corner by himself. 99 out of 139 candidates got a Y.
He repeated Form Four at Machakos School and managed to score ‘A’ plain in all subjects, performing even better than the previous exams. With the good results came a confusing period. Growing up, his aspiration was to become a doctor. However, as he passed the exam he was offered a scholarship to go study architecture in Japan. As a young boy, he thought going to Japan would be a great thing and went through the whole process. Just as he was finalizing everything, his father asked him why he really wanted to go to Japan yet he was meant to be a doctor. The talk helped him get back to his vision.
Dr. Andrew Mulwa forewent the scholarship and went to pursue Medicine at the University of Nairobi. These were some of the best days of his life as he not only spending time on books but would also participate in various activities in the campus. He even unsuccessfully vied for a political position in campus. Eventually, he took a wife while he was in third year, a decision he has never regretted.
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He worked at Machakos Level 5 Hospital as an intern and it was here that he got to really practice medicine and understand its intricacies. Then, he was posted to Makueni Referral Hospital followed by Mbooni Hospital. At Mbooni Hospital, life was much different as it is a sub county hospital with no theatres. He was committed to making sure that the hospital developed a theatre. One incident that further motivated him was when a woman who needed to undergo cesarean died on the way to the referral hospital.
They couldn’t reach the hospital since the river had flooded making it impossible for the ambulance or cars to pass. The woman died as she waited for the raging water to subside. He worked to ensure that a theatre was put in the hospital to avoid such incidences and by the time he was leaving, he said he had done over 6,000 surgeries. His dedication to the job even saw him leave his traditional wedding to go attend to an emergency at the hospital.
Dr. Andrew Mulwa was part of the team that came up with the Makueni Universal Healthcare Program. He went on to serve as the Minister of Health Services in Makueni and the Director, Medical Services, Preventive and Promotive Health at the Ministry of Health.