Beyond misconception: Male caregiver making a difference
May 31, 2023 | 12:31 pm
It is not every time that you will walk into a hospital ward and find a male caregiver. Almost three quarters of those caring for the elderly, physically challenged, or chronically ill family member or friend, are women.
SRC, while undertaking a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), was impressed by the commitment of a male caregiver.
Before becoming the primary caregiver to his son who was admitted at KNH, Brian Ogina played many roles in his day to day life, from a breadwinner to a husband to a father of his 6-year-old son.
For the past two years, he found himself thrust into a new and unanticipated role as primary caregiver for his son, Junior, who was diagnose with cerebral palsy.
“It changed everything,” says Brian, who in his previous life worked at a law firm in Nairobi, adding, “There is shock, denial, anger, guilt, and then finally acceptance.”
Brian assumed a long list of responsibilities in caring for his son, who was first admitted at M.M Shah Hospital, leaving a bill of Ksh 5 million before they could be transferred to KNH.
“Junior has chronic, progressive MS, but luckily he has not been so impaired,” says Brian. “At this point, we try to live as normally as we can. The key is to find a way to be a caregiver, but also to go beyond just coping skills and to have a life.”
“My wife has been very supportive. As I’m trapped here in the ward with Junior and can’t work, she provides for us and once in a while comes to check on us here,” he says of his wife.
Brian advices men to take responsibility and help their wives in such circumstances and not view caregiving as a women-only job.