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Taking care of ‘prison babies’

Parenting By Mercy Kahenda

According to Nakuru Women Prison in-charge Rosemary Njenga it is mandatory for expectant mothers, who come to the facility, to enroll for antenatal clinic.

After birth, they receive their post natal care from Level 5 hospital in Nakuru. The children's birth certificates are processed and by time of release, they are given the documents.

These mothers are then given three months 'maternity leave' where they are exempted from normal duties so they can take care of their children.

At the age of four, the children are handed over to children's department or children homes because the law does not permit them to be in the prison.

After birth, Njenga notes that mothers are allowed three months maternity to take care of their children, their birth certificates are processed and by time of release, they are given the documents.

While at the facility, the children are also provided with a balanced diet, clothing and other essentials.

Sanitation is highly encouraged at the facility to eliminate infection of diseases to young ones.

As such, clothing and bedding used by the young ones are disinfected including basins. Other inmates are not permitted to use their basins and beddings.

"New borns are delicate and can easily get infected with various diseases that is why during birth, mothers are encouraged to uphold high hygiene for instance their clothing must be disinfected before use," she said.

After birth, the children are required to undergo immunization against whooping cough, tetanus, measles, polio, diphtheria and Tuberculosis (TB).

Njenga says the prison facilitates this exercise with vaccination and medical examination conducted by two clinical officers who run the prison clinic.

"Children are not convicts and they are entitled to all rights while at the facility that is why they are monitored closely by medics to ensure they are healthy," she said.

However at the facility, children are not provided with special diet. Their mothers are encouraged to breastfeed them for six months before weaning.

After introducing weaning, the new born are provided with mashed beans to supplement their diet among other meals.

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