Two of the five Kakamega babies unstable, but under special care

Residents visit Evelyn Namukhula from Shisokhe village, Navakholo, after she gave birth to five babies at Kakamega County Hospial. [Photo, Chrispen Sechere]

Doctors at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital have said two of the five babies are unstable but under specialised care.

Concerns were raised on the way county hospitals refer premature babies for further care in major health facilities.

This was expressed by Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) top management on Friday while giving a status report on the quintuplets who were born at Navakholo area and referred by Kakamega county hospital after they developed complications.

According to the hospital management and a host of doctors who addressed the media at the Riley Mother and Baby unit, the babies and their mother arrived in five separate ambulances on Wednesday night a move that saw the newborns arrive when they had hypothermia.

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“Evelyn Namukhula was referred with her five new-borns (three girls, two boys) and it is important to state the manner in which the babies were transported. Referring hospitals should be done in a particular manner with focus given on their health and safety. The five babies arrived when they were already cold,” he said.

He added: “As part of giving feedback to our referral facilities, they need to relook into how they transport the babies, they should have been brought in one or two ambulances that are well oxygenated and kept warm,”

Aruasa however noted that the mother and the babies are being closely monitored by the dedicated specialized staff at MTRH.

“Out of the five babies, two are unstable and require medical attention and treatment. The smallest of them all weighs 820 grams while the biggest has 1.4 kilograms and are currently at the nursery where they are on drips and topic feeds,” he said.

Dr. Eric Ngetich observed that that survival rate of babies born 31 weeks of their gestation period ranges from 50 to 75 percent.

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“The younger they are, the more the complications the babies get. We are however glad that the five babies are under special care at our facility,” he said.

The hospital officials also raised a concern over failure by the mother to breastfeed citing cultural barriers.

They observed that when the mother arrived at the facility accompanied by the grandmother they were adamant that the babies will not breastfeed.

“We learnt that it is a cultural myth in their community that having multiple babies is a bad omen. The mother is worried that when she goes home with many children, she will be viewed differently with others blaming it on a curse,” said Dr. Phillip Kirwa the director of Reproductive health.

He added: “We have been educating them to understand and accept that twinning is a natural process and a good thing. There is no association with curses or cultural beliefs but a woman who is blessed with an ability to have many babies,”

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Aruasa said the staff have been encouraging the mother to express her milk so that the babies can share the breast milk.

Dr. Wycliffe Kosgei head of obstetrics said the mother is recuperating after undergoing a major caesarean surgery during the birth of the babies.

“Due to the major operation, she is anemic and we will have to transfuse her along with embark on physiotherapy besides guiding her on healthy balanced diet,” he added.

Namukhula 28, pleaded with well-wishers to come to her aid saying the babies are a blessing but currently facing finance challenges in raising them.

“I do not have anything to offer to the five babies and my plea is to the citizens of our country to assist me in any way they can,” she said at her hospital bed.

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MTRHMoi Teaching and Referral Hospital