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Dr David Sankok defies disability barriers

It’s not common when a medical procedure gone wrong becomes an indirect blessing.

But for Dr David Ole Sankok, the chairman of National Council of Persons with Disability, an injection given to him about 30 years ago at a Naivasha hospital that caused him paralysis on one side of his body was the beginning of a new achieving life.

On an August evening in 1984, he fell ill. He was rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with pneumonia.

The doctors gave at the hospital him an injection that changed his life forever. “When I woke up the following morning I felt numb on my left side,” he said.

His mother took him back to the hospital where they were advised to massage the injected area with warm salty water.

“But my condition did not change and after two weeks, I was taken to Kijabe Mission Hospital where doctors pronounced that my lower left side was paralysed and the situation could not be reversed,” he said.

BOOSTED CONFIDENCE

After much counselling at the mission hospital his self-confidence was boosted.

“I gathered courage knowing that I still had my brain, hands and mouth,” he said.

During his formative years, all Dr Sankok wanted was to be a Moran.

“Morans were the community’s soldiers. My ambition was to accumulate wealth by raiding other communities,” he said.

But as the black sheep of his family, according to his father, he was sent to school as a punishment since he could not perform simple tasks like herding.

He was handed over to Entontol Primary School at the age of seven.

STUDIOUS AND HARDWORKING

A studious pupil he excelled in his national primary exams and joined the prestigious Kericho High School.

In his final exams in secondary school he scored and was admitted the University of Nairobi, college of Health Sciences.

In 1999, he became the chairman for the university’s student association for the disabled and later the chairman of Association of all Maasai students from the country.

He became the Chairman of the Student Organisation of Nairobi University in 2000.

During his tenure as the student leader, he led thousands of university students from across the country to oppose the parallel degree programme and was suspended for 15 years from college.

The university said he was rebelling against government policies.

NO GIVING UP

“I did not give up, I went to Norway where I pursued a diploma in medical research,” he said.

During the Mwai Kibaki’s regime he was pardoned and resumed health studies in Nairobi in August 2003.

He graduated in 2005 and now runs several private clinics.

With a mind for entrepreneurship he has also ventured in the hotel and catering industry on the side.

His fortitude to achieve despite all odds has won him laurels over the years.

For instance, in last year’s Mashujaa Day national celebrations, he was recognized as a hero on behalf of the six million Kenyans who are disabled.

Dr Sankok who is married with seven children urges people to stick to their dreams.

“For you to achieve your dreams, you have to pay the price, and the price is proportional to your dream. The bigger the dream, the bigger the price,” he says.

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