Passers-by led protests against Pumwani Hospital after a video making rounds on social media on Friday September 18 appeared to have shown a woman delivering right outside the gate, uncovered on the pavement in the sweltering sun.
The video shows the crowd of people who appeared agitated and were picketing at the hospital gate.
There was little activity inside the facility which appeared deserted at the time.
Several people can be heard in the video asking medical staff at the hospital to intervene amid claims that the expectant woman had been turned away by the facility.
Eyewitnesses lamented that the new mother had been rushed to the hospital by a taxi operator.
The driver was left stranded after the guards locked the gates and watched from inside.
“Hawezi bebwa. Siezi mbeba ako na uchungu mingi mtoto ashatoka! (I cannot carry her to another hospital. She is in so much pain and the baby has already been born),” the taxi driver lamented after he was confronted by passers-by.
A number of women started screaming at the guards while covering the mother with shawls. Men roughed up a number of the security personnel after they broke the chains locking the gates.
Hospital staff reportedly came to her rescue after the uproar. The passers-by also confronted them for risking the lives of the mother and her newborn baby.
Neither Nairobi County, NMS, the Ministry of Health nor the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has issued a statement on the matter.
Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris condemned the hospital administrators and urged relevant authorities to look into it.
“The mistreatment of a pregnant woman at the gates of Pumwani Maternity Hospital is a shameful indictment of our health facilities. An enduring state is judged by the social services to its most vulnerable citizens.
“We failed this mother and her child at her hour of need, yet the Universal Health Coverage is among President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda. I demand that the NMS and Inspector General speed up investigations into this matter,” Passaris posted on her social media pages.
Pumwani Hospital informs me that the incident took place a week ago, and that nurses eventually attended to mother and baby who are currently doing fine. It's imperative that gaps in our healthcare systems are sealed, starting with grievances that lead to go-slows. @Senate_KE
— Hon. Esther M Passaris (@EstherPassaris) September 19, 2020
Services in several public hospitals had been crippled by a shutdown on county governments occasioned by the revenue sharing stalemate earlier in the week.
Across the country, health care workers had downed tools, decrying delayed wages and allowances.
On Saturday, Kenyans in their droves rallied behind a #respectourmothers hashtag, calling out the hospital.
“Ng’ombe mbili zikipigana, nyasi huumia. (When two cows fight, the grass is affected) While senate & Governors are busy fighting, women who expect services from hospitals like Pumwani are being turned away, this is not acceptable Not in 2020 Imagine when citizens have to fight to get services at a Government hospital,” Syombua A Kibue captioned the video on Twitter.
“Watched disturbing video of a pregnant lady outside Pumwani MATERNITY hospital. I don’t have all the facts, but it’s painful to watch! She is a mother yet I doubt we will see helicopters and demonstrations for this mother, we may not even hear one leader speak. SAD!” ranted Citizen TV anchor Willis Raburu.
Watched disturbing video of a pregnant lady outside Pumwani MATERNITY hospital. I don’t have all the facts, but it’s painful to watch! She is a mother yet I doubt we will see helicopters and demonstrations for this mother, we may not even hear one leader speak. SAD!
— Willis Raburu (@WillisRaburu) September 19, 2020
A similar incident occurred on Monday, September 16 outside a hospital in Dandora, Nairobi.
Governor Sonko suspended two nurses after one Mary Atieno, delivered outside the hospital. Reports alleged that she lacked Ksh 20 registration fees required for admission.