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Nurses accused of keeping away pregnant women from hospitals

By | Jul 21st 2011 | 2 min read

By Vitalis Kimutai

A reproductive health forum in Kitale town was told that many expectant mothers in rural areas prefer Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to nurses in Government hospitals.

The women claimed nurses in public hospitals and some private clinics mistreat them whenever they visit the facilities for assistance during labour.

"Nurses in Government hospitals hurl insults at pregnant women during labour," lamented one woman at the meeting organised by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).

The women said they, therefore, shun attending pre-natal clinics and instead take herbal medicine prescribed by TBAs in their home areas.

"Women who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation experience the worst form of mistreatment at dispensaries, health centres and district hospitals," said the women.

Most TBAs have not undergone any professional training offered at various Government hospitals by officers from the Public Health and Medical Services ministries.

"They have knowledge passed from one generation to another while others have learnt on the job while making costly mistakes as they experiment on expectant mothers who go to them for help," a women’s leader said.

She added that in case of complications, the expectant women are taken to hospitals when they have either bled too much or lost their infants. In most cases, both the child and the mother die before arriving at health facilities especially in areas where roads are in bad state and cost of transport is high.

"Some of the women miscarry while being taken to hospital on motor cycles, bicycles, and wheelbarrows," observed Victoria Kisuiya, an elder.

Mrs Jackline Majuma, a TBA, said most pregnant women who seek her services shun local clinics saying nurses are too harsh.

"Most of them, especially those who have undergone FGM, claim nurses recommend they give birth through caesarean even when not necessary," she said.

Mrs Florence Namala, an official with Handicap International, said most people with disabilities do not get proper medical treatment at the various Government hospitals in the North Rift region.

KNCHR commissioners Joseph Mati, Kipngetich Tororey, Owuor Olungah, Winnie Lichuma and Anne Ngugi presided over the meeting.

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