By Tebby Otieno
The Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA) is mourning one of its gallant, dedicated and highly talented members.
Elizabeth Merab, an award-winning health journalist, died aged 31 on Saturday, July 15, 2023, at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, where she had been bedridden for several months.
Merab succumbed to sickle cell disease, which she had unceasingly written and spoken about during her lifetime as a journalist. She said she had lived with the disease for 18 years.
Until her demise, Merab was a reporter with the Nation Media Group.
When MESHA Chief Executive Aghan Daniel broke the news of her death in the association’s WhatsApp group, tributes started pouring in immediately, with most of her colleagues remembering her as a strong fighter.
“It is indeed a sad day for us. What a talented young science journalist to die!” wrote Aghan. “If the words ‘I have fought a good fight’ could be given to anyone, I would give them to Merab. May she rest in eternal peace,” wrote John Riaga, MESHA Treasurer.
Others remembered her for her generosity and her willingness to share science knowledge with others and mentoring younger writers.
“I had the privilege of meeting her during a MOJO training organised by MESHA early last year. I recall that on that particular day, she kindly paid for my Uber ride back to college, playfully remarking, ‘Nyinyi watoto wa shule bado mnateseka,’” recalled David Odhiambo.
Venter Nkatha wrote, “Such an eloquent story teller! She couldn’t have been anyone else but a journalist/a science story teller. Her rich voice complemented her curious mind to scale the diverse heights.”
Sickle cell disease is caused by an abnormality in the red blood cells, which reduces their ability to carry oxygen to other body organs. Merab had the disease in her bloodstream for many years, at some point even losing one of her legs to it. Indeed, she fought a good fight and finished the race.
MESHA will remember her for her hard work, generosity, dedication, team spirit and a for being great journalist and mentor. May Merab’s beautiful soul rest in eternal peace.