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CHILDBIRTH AT GATE

Where’s the outrage? Heads must roll over Pumwani cruelty

Where are the women groups and lawmakers who were threatening to strip?

In Summary
  • Childbirth is an intimate, almost sacred affair, but here we have a woman forced to give birth in full glare of the public.
  • Even Jesus was born in a manger and not on a street in Bethlehem.
The Pumwani Maternity Hospital on March 26, last year
STAFF SHORTAGE: The Pumwani Maternity Hospital on March 26, last year
Image: ENOS TECHE

It’s just not right that a woman would give birth on the street, outside of a hospital gate of all places. This amid furore over alleged disrespect to mothers by two lawmakers.

Childbirth is an intimate, almost sacred affair, but here we have a woman forced to give birth in full glare of the public. Some women have had the misfortune of giving birth on the way to hospital or in vehicles, but men are usually asked to look away. Not so for this woman. In fact, it was the men, and some women nearby, who protested loudly and demanded the askaris at the hospital gate to let her in.

But this took so long and no one was comforting the woman who was worried that her baby’s head may hit the ground. Women should have surrounded her and shielded her with lesos.

 

The NMS director of medical services should have resigned like yesterday. Where are the women groups and lawmakers who were threatening to strip because some lawmaker had ‘disrespected mothers’? This negligence is an insult to Kenyan women. Where is the dignity? Why don’t they have female askaris on the gate? It’s a maternity hospital after all.

This act was heartless. Even Jesus was born in a manger and not on a street in Bethlehem. Were it not the for the vehicle partly shielding her, goodness only knows how much more indignity the poor woman would have suffered. If that’s even possible. It doesn’t get any more debasing than giving birth on the street, in full glare of the public and someone at hand to film you.

The Pumwani case shows just what poor maternity services are offered by public hospitals. It used to be said that nurses would slap or hit labouring women. Women should be assured of safe delivery in public hospitals. Nurses and doctors are always threatening to strike or actually boycotting work over pay and poor working conditions. Counties should channel the money collected in hospitals towards paying the medics and other people offering essentials services.

Kenyan women deserve to be treated with respect. The cruelty meted out on the woman should never again be witnessed anywhere in this republic.

Women legislators need to wake up. Let them make laws to criminalise turning away a woman seeking maternity services. This will deter hospitals from mistreating women yet maternity services are free of charge.

According to statistics, Kenya has the second-lowest fertility rates in East Africa, behind Burundi, as more families embrace family planning. This means every birth should be treated with utmost care.