The Star (Nairobi)

18 August 2012

Kenya: Teen Dies After 'Religious' Parents Shun Hospital

A 13 year-old boy has died in Naivasha and his other six siblings left gravely sick, after their parents refused to take them to hospital, citing religious beliefs. Police were called by villagers and took the sick children who are between 3 and 15 to Naivasha District Hospital. The police also took away the body of the 13 year old boy.

Their parents are members of the United Pentecost sect. The father's children, James Njuguna said the church's teachings were against seeking treatment in hospitals. Naivasha District public health officer Samuel King'ori said three of the six children that been rescued were suffering from measles.

"The children have never been immunised or vaccinated," said Kingori. The health officer said the couple would be arraigned in court. A neighbour Lucy Njeri said said the family did not mingle with other people and they hardly went to church. "The neighbours tried telling the children's parents they needed to take them to hospital because they were sick, but did not listened to us," said Njeri.

The peasant farmer in his mid 50s told how his son bid them bye saying that he was on his way to meet his maker. "Kamau told us that he wanted to meet his maker and that was the last time we heard from him before he died," said the unperturbed suspect. He told how he suffered from cancer some years ago and efforts to seek medication failed adding that prayers and his faith healed him.

King'ori added that the couple would be charged in court with various offences as the minors continued to receive treatment. For over 24 hours, the couple and their children shared one room with the body and even ate before members of the public informed the police. Neighbors confirmed that the couple did not attend church and lived as loners. "When we learnt that their children were suffering from measles, who tried to convince them to go to hospital but they declined," said a neighbor Lucy Njeri.

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