Government spokesman says prayer helped him beat Covid-19

Cyrus Oguna, who stayed in hospital for a month, says he is alive because of a power beyond doctors’ efforts

Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna has attributed his recovery from a coronavirus infection to prayer and an “extra hand”. In an interview with NTV last week, Col (Rtd) Oguna said his condition was so bad that at some point he told his wife to brief their daughter about everything so that even in his absence she would know where “everything” was.

Oguna, a former Kenya Defence Forces spokesman, contracted the virus in July and was in hospital for almost 30 days. He said he did not know how or where he contracted the disease.

“I was always aware I was a frontliner in the fight against Covid-19 and therefore at risk, but I always abided by the containment measures. There was nowhere I went without wearing a mask, sanitising or washing my hands, and I always maintained social distance,” he said.

Oguna said his experience with the disease had made him realise the effectiveness of prayer and that he is alive because of a power beyond doctors’ efforts.

“Prayer pays; prayer works,” he told NTV news anchor and reporter Olive Burrows. “Sometimes we can be the same age, suffering the same condition, given the same medication, but one will succumb, and another one will live. What determines that, yet you are being treated by the same doctors? Sometimes there is something beyond the doctors. I think in my case it is that extra hand that decided I am going to go back and that on this day I was going to talk to Olive Burrows of NTV; I was going to tell the public about my situation.”

Oguna, who never mentioned God or talked about his faith in God during the 27-minute interview aired on September 24, said his experience with the pandemic had changed his outlook on life.

“The day I stepped out of the ward, I realised how important it is to be out there – able to breathe fresh air again, interact with nature again, see people moving around (not in personal protective gear but in ordinary clothing) again,” he said.

Although he has recovered, he still experiences residual symptoms and effects of the virus: he still has episodes of breathlessness and is unable to smell or taste anything. He described eating food as feeling like eating sand: “I can only tell what I am eating by looking, not by tasting.”

He said he was on continuous and sustained oxygen supplementation from the second to the last day of his stay in hospital. He recalled a day he went to the bathroom without his oxygen supply – he was unable to get out on his own and could not even call for help because he could hardly breathe (he had declined the offer of a portable oxygen cylinder and motorised wheelchair).

Oguna said Kenyans should learn from his experience with the virus and understand that the disease, which by September 26 had infected 37,871 and killed 689 people locally, is no joke.