A security guard at Pumwani Maternity Hospital saved the day after intercepting a woman trying to steal a 3.5kg baby she had hidden in a laptop bag.
Mary Atieno tried to steal three-day-old Adrian from the Nairobi county-run facility at 5.30pm on Friday. His mother, Rebecca Kasaya, 35, had left him on a hospital bed as she went to process her discharge documents when he was abducted.
Adrian’s abductor was intercepted by a security guard when the baby started crying just as she passed through the hospital’s main entrance on the first floor.
The guard — Joseph Bitok — discovered the baby upon inspecting the laptop bag. “The baby was crying and when I asked her, she said that it was her phone that was ringing. I searched the bag and found a baby,” he said.
Atieno was whisked away by officers from Shauri Moyo police station and escaped the wrath of angry members of the public who were baying for her blood.
Adrian’s mother, Kasaya, expressed joy and thanked God for rescuing her baby. “God is great. The God I am serving is great. I asked God, if this is the only boy I am having, why should someone steal him? I was just crying to God,” she said.
Before Adrian’s case, there were reports online that an infant wrapped in a linen sheet with the label of Pumwani hospital was found dumped in an estate in Eastlands.
Medical superintendent Cathrine Mutinda declined to comment on the incidences and instead referred the Star to the county director of communications Elkana Jacob.
Acting Health executive Vesca Kangogo said the attempted theft was foiled because of enhanced security at the facility.
“We have installed CCTVs in all the rooms and corridors; our guards are also on high alert and the police are on a 24-hour patrol of the facility,” she said.
Jacob rubbished the social media reports of a baby being dumped.
The hospital, which records between 100 and 120 deliveries a day, has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the past.
Cases of baby theft, negligence, congestion and lack of supplies have haunted the facility for years.
On January 6, 2015, twin babies were allegedly stolen at the hospital and it emerged the babies given to a couple after a stillbirth were not theirs.
Dedan Kimathi and his wife Jecinter, parents of the twins, requested for a DNA test after they were given dead babies.
DCI officers, the county government and Health committee of the Senate have been investigating the incident.