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Agencies get two weeks to probe deaths of newborn babies at Kangundo Level 4 Hospital

By | November 2nd 2015

Kenyans will have to wait for two weeks to know the circumstances that led to the recent deaths of four newborn babies at the Kangundo Level 4 Hospital.

House Committee on Health Chairman James Nyikal addresses the media at Kangundo Level 4 Hospital. [PHOTO: ERASTUS MULWA/STANDARD]

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, which toured the health facility at the weekend on a fact-finding mission, set up a multi-agency probe into the deaths, which had sparked public outrage.

Committee Chairman James Nyikal, who led the exercise, said health agencies, including the Nursing Council of Kenya, the Medical Practitioners and Dentists' Board as well as the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, would in the next 14 days file independent reports on their findings on the incident.

Dr Nyikal, alongside members of the House team who included Stephen Mule, Mohammed Dahir, Michael Onyura and Joseph Magwanga, grilled the hospital's medical superintendent Supa Tunje for nearly two hours before addressing the Press.

Dr Tunje had earlier told journalists that the babies' deaths were 'normal occurrences', which could not be clinically prevented.

The doctor in charge had further cited "very low birth weights" as the predominant cause that led to various medical complications on the babies, which lead to their eventual deaths.

But Nyikal appeared to cast doubts on the theory, saying the coincidence of such magnitude of deaths happening at the county's second largest health institution was something to worry about.

"Obviously, we needed to know the circumstances behind the deaths, because it is unusual that all premature babies would die at the same time," said Nyikal, who chaired a closed-door meeting of the agencies' representatives and the hospital's top management.

"What we have got now are raw facts as provided by those concerned, but not conclusive yet. But as a committee of Parliament we shall get conclusive reports from the relevant regulatory bodies in two weeks' time and adopt the report," said Nyikal, who is also a consultant paediatrician.

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