Nation Media Journalist Elizabeth Merab Dies After 2-Decade Fight With Sickle Cell Anemia

The Nation Centre building in Nairobi's Kimathi Street where the Nation Media Group offices are located. Monday, October 21, 2019
The Nation Centre building located at Kimathi Street, Nairobi's Central Business District (CBD).

Elizabeth Merab, a health journalist attached to Nation Media Group (NMG) passed away Saturday, July 15, after a battle with Sickle cell anemia.

A source at the media house confirmed the death to adding that she died on the morning of Saturday after struggling with the disease for a long time.

"Sadly Elizabeth has left us. She has been struggling with sickle-sell anemia. She was a warrior and she will be remembered forever," the source stated.

The late Nation Media Group Health Reporter Elizabeth Merab
The late Nation Media Group Health Reporter Elizabeth Merab.
Elizabeth Merab

In January 2023, the journalist received treatment at a local hospital where a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) was installed on her right arm.

The journalist opened up about her struggle with the disease and the stigma she faced when dealing with the pain in an earlier interview.

"I was diagnosed at the age of 10. It was after so many painful tests that my doctor told my parents about my condition," she stated.

While fighting back tears, Merab recalled her frequent hospital visits and being in the dark for 10 years before the diagnosis. She added that she was lucky her parents could afford the treatment.

"The disease can take a toll on anyone, people often doubted I was sick due to my physical appearance," she stated.

Merab added that the disease took a toll on her mental health, social life, and financial capacity.

At NMG, Merab was a health and science journalist having worked for close to seven months. The award-winning journalist also covered environmental sexual, reproductive health, and maternal and child health issues.

She was also a communication specialist, speaker, moderator, and media trainer. 

She held a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Kenyatta University, a Degree in Science Journalism, Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs from Rhodes University, and a Master's degree in Digital Journalism from Aga Khan University.

In 2021, she became the first recipient Global Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Journalism Award by Amref Health Africa.

Sickle Cell
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder where red blood cells become sticky and change shape. 

Normally, red blood cells are round and flexible, but in sickle cell anemia, they become crescent-shaped and can get stuck in blood vessels, causing pain and reducing oxygen flow to organs.

 This can lead to fatigue, infections, and organ damage. Treatments aim to manage symptoms and prevent complications.

The late Elizabeth Merab at the Nation Media Group Centre in Nairobi in October 2022
The late Elizabeth Merab at the Nation Media Group Centre in Nairobi in October 2022
Elizabeth Mirab
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