June 17, 2019

Pumwani Nurses Go On Strike, Deny Baby Selling Allegations

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By Veronicah Njoroge
Nurses at Pumwani Maternity Hospital went on strike yesterday in protest to allegations of child swapping and theft facing the institution. The nurses paralyzed operations at the hospital forcing newborns at the hospital’s nursery to be transferred to Kenyatta National hospital while pregnant women were forced to go to other hospitals.
The allegations stem from an incident that took place on January 6 2014 when a woman, Jacinta Wanjiku was told by the hospital staff that she had delivered stillborn twins. However, Wanjiku claimed she had heard the babies cry and insisted the babies had been born alive. She sought a DNA test to resolve the issue. The test, which was conducted at the government chemist in Nairobi, revealed that the babies were not twins and their DNA profile did not match that of the aggrieved parents. The senate is now investigating the case.
Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Chairperson Seth Panyako claims that the bodies were swapped at the Nairobi City mortuary.
“The DNA was not done on the babies that were delivered here; in fact one looked like an Indian baby. We had information that interested parties had them swapped at the City Mortuary,” said Panyako
Panyako said it is wrong for them to be branded “thieves” as no health official from the hospital had been convicted for either selling or swapping babies. The KNUN boss said the health staff at Pumwani Maternity Hospital had been cleared of malpractices after the union conducted its own investigations. However, he added that no nurse will be allowed to serve at the institution unless the government intervenes in the matter. He further added that no nurse would work at the facility until the government agrees to hire 200 nurses and procure more equipment, including three radiographers.
“The work here is overwhelming and unless our conditions are met including every mother to be admitted in her own cubicle, we will not work at this hospital,” Panyako said

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