Producer of BBC expose on mistreatment of elderly narrates production experience

BBC journalist, Hussein Mohamed.[Sreen grab]

A senior Investigative Journalist and one of the producers of a BBC exposé on the mistreatment of the elderly in caregiving homes, has narrated his experience during the production process.

Hussein Mohamed describes the secret filming as ‘emotional’.

His sentiments came hours after the British broadcaster published a documentary titled ‘Betrayed: Elderly Care Exposed’ which shows how the elderly are treated at PCEA Thogoto Home of the Aged, located in Kikuyu, Kiambu County.

In an interview with Spice FM’s Situation Room on Monday, August 7, Mohamed says some of the undercover reporters in the project would turn off their cameras due to emotional breakdown.

"We used who were stationed there for about 18 months just to try and piece what is happening. Going through hours and hours of footage and seeing this kind of mistreatment was shocking,” he said.

“Before we started recording, we had to spend time just taking notes of what was happening and it was happening at that time. We found out that different caregivers do almost the same thing,” he explains how they were able to ascertain that mistreatment was a norm.

He says the investigation and undercover reporting started after they received reports of the animosity in the elderly home.

“There is a lot of footage we could not manage to show, including one filmed as the elderly were being bathed outside in the cold,” he says.

The home was founded by the Women’s Guild, a female group from PCEA, but currently runs independently with Jane Gaturu as the manager.

To accommodate one resident, the family has to part with Sh40,000. It is home to 50 aged men and women.

The BBC Africa Eye documentary shows how senior citizens residing in the home are victims of malice and hostile caregivers.

The 26-minute documentary also finds that well-wishers are the main visitors to the facility. They come with gifts and food which the elderly doesn’t get to see as most of them are poorly fed.

“The food was occasionally packed in one of the staff members’ cars and they drive off. Actually, one of the most entertaining things is that one of the elderly guys helps to load the food onto the car,” said Mohamed.

“Staff expect them to eat but they don’t have the energy to feed themselves. How have you helped them? You’ve not helped at all…The residents at the home, it’s only God keeping them alive,” a former employee tells BBC.