Nairobi, Kenya – After Anne Khasakalla suffered two maternity hospitals in 2014 and 2015, she was looking for a solution that would provide her with better health care.
Friends told her that pregnant women in Kenya must pay doctors and nurses bribes to escape the long queues of mothers waiting for their children.
"During my first pregnancy, I was thrilled to be my mother and I could not wait to see my new baby in this world," 34-year-old Al Jazeera said.
"I signed up for childbirth [the government-run] Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi. I attended all the diseases in the pre-clinic, I did an ultrasound examination and my baby was healthy.
"On the day of my birth, I was disappointed, as some women came to see me in the hospital [and] they delivered their children in front of them. I experienced extended work that lasted 18 hours from the time I was admitted to the maternity facility. The final return was dead daughters. "
Khasakalla will earn $ 30 a month for the sale of fruit and vegetables in the streets of Nairobi.
Her other dead child was also a girl.
It represents approximately 34,000 Kenyan women who deliver birth-to-birth births each year, according to the World Health Organization.
He now has two healthy children – both of whom were delivered to the same hospital.
"After I realized that most women paid bribes to avoid long queues, then I turned to a known gynecologist at the facility and negotiated a $ 2,000 ($ 20) fee to deliver my first child. childbirth and was home the next day after resting in the maternity room overnight.
"The same applies to my second-born child." In spite of the maternity services that are in public hospitals for free, I did not want to take on other risks, it still does not guarantee that you are born safe because many doctors are also drunk in fulfilling their duties, "she said.
In the last few years, several physicians – some prosecuted – have been accused of being intoxicated at work in Kenya, with some cases leading to further injury or death.
|Patients with cholera receive treatment and care within a special department at the National Kenyatta Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, July 19, 2017 [File: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters]|
Since 2013, the government of Kenya has provided free maternity services in government hospitals, including accompanying services, until the child reaches the age of five.
This was part of a government program to suppress growth in maternal mortality rates – 400 out of every 100,000 live births in 2017, according to the WHO.
Newborn deaths according to the WHO make up 34 out of every 1000 live births, making Kenya one of the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa for maternal health.
Pumwani Maternity Hospital, one of the oldest institutions in Kenya and established in 1920, is currently being investigated for medical negligence and child trafficking by a medical practitioner and dentist (MPDB), a government agency.
"Yes, we have received reports that women pay money if they are not doing just to give life," said Daniel Yumbya, Chief Legal Officer on the Board. "As a result, we have abolished the licenses of some physicians, about 46 of them.
"We will soon send Ken parliament a proposal for new measures to punish practitioners who violate the law."
Yumby said that some women had lost their lives and were expecting to give children emergency cesarean section at different hospitals.
He said that eight private nursing homes had been closed on a pan-European scale in the last few months. Illegal medical doctors also killed pregnant women, he said.
"We are also examining Catholic St. Mary's Hospital, which is pounding its patients for the usual delivery at a usual $ 50. It is a disappointment that a missionary hospital can do such a thing," Yumbya said.
He said there are no up-to-date bribery data because most cases are unannounced. But on the basis of regular complaints, he explained, this trend is disturbing.
Reworked and inadequate doctors
According to Dr. Oum Oluga, Chief Medical Officer and Dentist (KMPDU), the government blamed the state of hospitals, particularly public hospitals. He said doctors were overworked with limited resources and equipment.
"For example, recently, Mumbai Hospital in Pumwani did not have a functioning mortuary, and the bodies would sometimes have to be packed in polyethylene bags, it is a shame to the government that doctors and nurses are overworked and low paid all over the country."
A spokesman at Pumwani told Al Jazeera that his staff are trying hard to help patients despite being overworked and that no doctor has ever neglected their duty.
Oluga continued: "They are paid between 15,000 shillings ($ 150) and 40,000 shillings per month ($ 400). They are also overworked, working on average for 14 to 20 hours a day, making them ineffective to perform their duties effectively. fatigue."
He added that there are only six resident gynecologists in the Pumwani Maternity Hospital for about 154 expectant mothers.
"Many of these bad practices can be ruled out if more attention is paid to doctors and nurses."
Greater investment in staff hospitals could lead to less dead births.
When Khasakalla responded to her first pregnancy, she said, "I cried and considered suicide, my water cracked only six hours before giving birth, and the doctors ignored me.