23 January 2018

Kenya: Rape Claims - Under Siege KNH Orders for More Guards in Wards

Photo: Nairobi News
Kenyatta National Hospital , Nairobi. (file photo).

The Kenyatta National Hospital has been asked to find a way of accommodating new mothers closer to their babies.

The hospital's management board also approved recruitment of more private security guards and urged the National Police Service to deploy more officers to the hospital after sexual assault claims by patients.

Board chairman Mark Bor on Monday said that after touring the labour ward, maternity wing and the newborn unit, his team had made recommendations to the management to explore if breastfeeding mothers could be moved closer to the unit.

"We have toured the affected area, spoken to patients and staff on their experiences and made suggestions relating to physical and functional infrastructural improvements," he said.

HEALTH REASONS

Infants in the newborn unit are usually separated from their mothers for health reasons, such as offering intensive care support to infants who are very sick.

The babies are also separated so that they do not pick up infections.

Ideally, a nurse at KNH who sought to remain anonymous explained, a newborn unit should be based on the first floor -- just as it is at KNH -- so that health workers can cushion infants from infections.

Right below the newborn unit should be the labour ward, while the maternity wing where new mothers are transferred to from the labour ward, should be adjacent to the newborn unit for easy access to the baby whenever a mother needs to breastfeed.

This, however, is not the case at KNH, which was built in 1901, making it the oldest hospital in the country.

"The physical structure of the facility makes it a bit rigid to implement these guidelines," the nurse explained.

RAPE COMPLAINTS

Mr Bor urged anyone who may have a complaint of rape by hospital staff to report the matter directly to the board or to external investigators.

In a press statement, the former Public Health and Sanitation permanent secretary, said the hospital took seriously the allegations of rape, attempted rape or patients' fear of sexual assault and petty theft within the hospital.

"We endorse actions by the hospital management to commence internal investigations into the allegations," said Mr Bor.

His statement followed national outrage that has been building up since Friday over a Facebook post detailing allegations of abuse and theft at the referral hospital.

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