By G Wanga
As women MPs we visited KNH today on a fact finding mission following damning allegations of rape of new mothers. We spoke to several mothers who confirmed that they have been advised by staff to walk in groups while going to breastfeed because of security concerns but also for company. Some confirmed having been scared by men in the lifts and corridors especially in the wee hours.
Assertions by the management that no complaints had been raised could be false as some of the women said they had been briefed of an incidence on Thursday and advised to be careful as they moved around.
The mothers are located in various wards some on 3rd Flr, 1st Flr and Ground Flr while the New Born Unit is on the 1st Flr. The movement up and down is definitely overwhelming for new mothers especially those who’d undergone CSs. We discussed with the CEO the need to rearrange and bring the mothers closer to the NBU.
The health committee noted a myraid of other challenges facing KNH including acute congestion which is a factor of our overally failing health system. With lower level facilities failing, a national referral facility such as KNH then has to deal with primary health concerns. Sanitation and hygiene is also poor resulting in infection of mothers and babies.
One major improvement at the hospital however is availability of newly installed CCTV cameras which began work in December 2017 and we hope will aid the investigations to bring any suspects of rape to book expeditiously and deter any future incidences. We have also asked any victims or their relatives to report KEWOPA offices at Harambee Sacco Plaza 9th Flr.
Walking through the corridors of KNH, you sense the breakdown of our overall health system as a country, and while you are angry you meet staff who are overwhelmed by numbers that could have been handled in Tier I – V facilities that probably have no equipment, health workers and drugs. That is how patients with a cough or malaria will find themselves at a National Referral hospital that is also underfunded.