More tests to reveal cause of Pumwani deaths

Kinyuru Munuhe@kinyurumunuhe

Government Pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor has said the cause of death of the 11 babies found  boxes in a holding room at Pumwani Maternity Hospital will be established through microscopic analysis.

Oduor, who conducted the postmortem on the bodies at the City Mortuary yesterday, recommended further analysis to establish if the babies were dead or alive at the time of birth.

“We have conducted postmortem on the 11 bodies. We have recommended microscopic analysis to establish if they were alive or dead at the time of birth. This will take about two weeks,” Oduor said.

None of the parents of the dead children were present during the autopsy. “Microscopic analysis is crucial. We don’t speculate,” Oduor added.

The autopsy was occasioned by Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko’s invitation of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe the deaths. 

Sonko suspended the hospital’s board and senior officials following the discovery of the dead babies when he paid an unannounced visit to the  facility on September 17.

Sonko claimed the deaths may have been caused by negligence and that the bodies of the dead babies could have been used to aid child theft.

According to a situational report submitted to Sonko by Dr Leonard Okoko from September 14 to September 17 this month, he said the holding room for dead bodies had 11 bodies.

Four bodies were to be ferried to City Mortuary on Friday 14th September while six bodies accounting for deaths registered that weekend and were to be ferried to the morgue.

The facility had only one functional ambulance and the other was grounded. But senators have blamed Sonko for the poor state of the hospital.

A visit by three senate committees on Health, Security and Devolution resolved to summon Sonko, the County Executive Committee member, Health Chief Officer and Pumwani Medical Superintendent to shed light to the cause of the crisis facing the facility.

The joint committees are planning to grill the Nairobi county leadership over allegations of baby trafficking in Pumwani, budgetary allocations against deliverables achieved on health sector, breakdown in provision of technical support services and victimization of employees.

They also threatened to have the facility taken over by the national government if the lives of infants and mothers cannot be guaranteed.

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