Raila in India for daughter Rosemary’s treatment

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Mr Raila Odinga and his daughter Rosemary at a past event. The ODM leader is in India for the treatment of his daughter whose eye ailments have dogged her since 2017, when she lost her eyesight.

Mr Odinga left the country last week to attend the African Union heads of state summit in Addis Ababa. His office later issued a statement that he will also visit Israel and India, but did not give details, opening room for speculations that linked the visit to medical reasons.

However, on Monday, an Indian owned online newspaper, quoting medical sources, said the visit was a follow-up check-up on Ms Odinga’s eye ailments that have dogged her since 2017, when she lost her eyesight.

The treatment is being undertaken at Sreedhareeyam Ayurvedic Eye Hospital and Research Centre in Koothattukulam.

Koothattukulam is 46km from Kochi, a city in southwest India’s coastal Kerala state.

Traditional Indian medicine

Ms Odinga is being taken through Ayurveda, a traditional Indian system of medicine that aims to preserve health and wellness by keeping the mind, body, and spirit in balance and preventing disease rather than treating it.

According to the website, Sreedhareeyam eye treatment centre has been practising ayurvedic eye care traditionally for nearly 300 years now.

The chief physician of the centre, Dr Narayanan Namboothiri, was quoted saying that the Odingas will be at the hospital for a couple of days while Ms Odinga undergoes various eye care procedures and treatments prescribed in the traditional ayurvedic system.

Ms Odinga suffered a minor stroke in February 2017. An operation led to her losing her sight.

In an interview  in December 2019, Mr Odinga recounted the tribulations the family had gone through as it sought opinion on the treatment of his first-born child.

“After she lost her eyesight, she went to South Africa for rehab,” Mr Odinga told Joseph Warungu in January 2020.

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