Kinyuru Munuhe and Mercy Salisi @PeopleDailyKe
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has suspended the board and senior management of Pumwani Maternity Hospital after 12 corpses of infants were found crammed in boxes in a store in the facility.
The shocking discovery was made during an impromptu visit by the Governor yesterday morning. Sonko, who rode to the hospital on a boda boda, caught the management offguard.
He said he made the surprise visit after he saw a video in which bodies of dead infants were being carried from the wards.
Although it confirmed that the man in the video was an employee of the hospital, the administration could not explain why the dead infants were stuffed in boxes in a store instead of being taken to a mortuary. The bodies were wrapped in polythene bags and stuffed in three boxes. One box contained one body, another six while another had five bodies.
Pumwani Medical superintendent Catherine Mutinda was hard pressed to explain how the facility registered such a high number of infant deaths before noon and why the bodies were put in boxes.
“Conducting impromptu visit at Pumwani Hospital where it’s alleged by members of the public that the management shut down the machines at the maternity wing leading to loss of lives of young ones. I want to categorically state that human life must be respected. Stern action will be taken against anyone found to be sabotaging the good services offered in this facility,” the governor wrote in a social media update.
He invited detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe the matter which he described as a police case.
“This is a police matter. You can’t lose 12 babies in a day,” Sonko said. During the governor’s one-on-one session with maternity wing nurses, various issues were raised including inadequate equipment and ambulances, insufficient accommodation for the high number of mothers who seek services at the hospital, understaffing and absentee consultants.
Consultants, who were supposed to be on duty at the time of the governor’s visit were nowhere to be found. A gynaecologist, only identified as Dr Kamau, could not be reached on phone.
When asked why the hospital was charging mothers for ultrasound services which are supposed to be free, the hospital administrator shifted blame to NHIF, which he accused of delaying disbursement of funds. He said they were forced to charge mothers to ensure services do not stall.
Last week, a security guard intercepted a woman at the gate while carrying a baby believed to have been stolen. The child was stuffed in a laptop bag. The situation at Pumwani, however, remains wanting.