Kenyan maternity hospital under investigation over deaths of 12 babies

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has called for an investigation into the deaths of 12 babies found in the mortuary of one of Kenya’s best maternity centres.

Sonko found the bodies of the infants wrapped in plastic bags when he made an unannounced visit to Pumwani Maternity Hospital in the capital on Monday.

He said he visited the hospital “after receiving complaints over cases of laxity at the facility”.

“I immediately suspended the hospital’s Spt Dr Catherine Mutinda and two others, after uncovering 12 bodies of infants who died at the hospital mysteriously,” he tweeted.

Authorities did not say what happened to the babies’ mothers or what killed the infants.

During the visit, Sonko was seen in a widely shared video confronting hospital staff, demanding to know how many children had died that day.

In the video, an employee is seeing telling the governor that only one child had died since Friday, but the governor said he’s been told the number was higher.

“Don’t play with me, I have information on six bodies,” Sonko said. “You told me there’s only one, how many dead babies are there?”

Sonko ordered an employee to open several boxes and plastic bags that were sitting in a room, and they counted 12 bodies.

“This is a police case. You cannot lose 12 babies in a day. … You’re hiding bodies in plastic bags. These are human beings,” Sonko said.

Pumwani, one of Nairobi’s oldest hospitals, is located in the capital’s Eastleigh neighborhood and caters to mostly poor people.

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja described the discovery as “saddening, heartbreaking and underserving to any family”

He said there were allegations of child trafficking and baby swaps at the facility, giving no further details.

Workers at the health facility complained of malfunctioning equipment, lack of promotions, inadequate personnel, and the management’s high-handedness.

Farah Yussuf is a Digital Reporter with Star FM Kenya. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Masinde Muliro University.

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