Githunguri MP Wamuchomba fronts bill to protect pregnant women

A pregnant woman stroking her stomach. [Getty Images]

Pregnant women will soon be protected against obstetric violence (OBV) if the bill yet to be tabled by Githunguri Member of Parliament, Gathoni Wamuchomba is considered.

OBV occurs to women when they are pregnant, in labor and after giving birth.

Types of OBV include wrong treatment, denial of care, forced procedures, Physical abuse, detention in facilities, discrimination, verbal abuse, newborns and infant theft and exchange.

According to the lawmaker, the bill if passed will provide the legal, administrative and economic frameworks against OBV in Kenya.

"Every woman, regardless of her social or economic status deserves a dignified and respectful childbirth experience, free from any form of violence or abuse. The time has come for us to undo the injustices suffered by women under OBV in Kenya," Wamuchomba said.

She was speaking in a sensitization forum on Obstetric Violence (OBV) against pregnant women in Kenya organized by Gathoni Muchomba Africa Foundation (GAMAFRICA) in partnership with Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association (KEWOPA).

The women rights advisor to the president, Harriet Chigai, said that causes of the violence are multi-faceted and may arise from health workers, employers and the most painful may arise from the family.

However, she added that most of the cases occur in institutions of care.

"A woman seeks care during her most vulnerable moment and instead of receiving the much-needed attention, she finds a burnt-out healthcare professional," Chigai said.

She said that as a society, there is need to give dignity to the process of bringing forth life to the world.

"As women in leadership, we need to protect and champion the respect of women, feel their pain, honor their duty to humanity, inform them of their available choices and offer support during their journey," Chigai said.

KEWOPA chairperson, Leah Sankaire said that OBV is a serious and widespread problem that violates women rights and undermines the principles of compassionate and respectful maternity care.

She said that KEWOPA is committed to work on ensuring that there is a legal framework in place to ensure that pregnant are cautioned against Obstetric violence.

"We as women legislators continue to be committed to a violent free society, a people that not only appreciate the demerits of the practice but also understands that it undermines the rights of women and girls," Leah said.