Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia says he has sent officers to Bungoma County to investigate alleged malpractices by healthcare personnel.
The directive comes after footage was aired of a woman at the maternity unit of the Bungoma District Hospital giving birth on the floor.
As if that was not enough callousness, nurses who were filmed at the scene soon after the delivery were seen slapping her and ordering her to walk to a ward “to finish the delivery process.”
The appalling saga was filmed by another expectant mother on her mobile phone. She chose to go and deliver elsewhere after the traumatising experience.
In his statement Macharia said: “I want to report to Kenyans that my ministry has swiftly worked with the Bungoma County Governor’s office in regard to the matter to get facts before action is taken.”
He further termed the incident as unfortunate saying that he had contacted the relevant offices seeking more information on the matter.
Macharia added that as investigations continue, victims of such incidents should speak out.
“I would have wanted the woman who reported the matter to be clear on camera for purposes of identification. She should have come out clearly and because she did not, we are treading with care to ascertain the truth of the matter.”
He added that one of the reforms being made in the health sectors is ensuring care givers are qualified and they work in a conducive working environment.
“The ministry will set out to work with nurses in hospitals to re-orient them on proper care giving to ensure that such malpractices are stamped out and as we do so, we will address the issues that affect them in order to create a good working environment,” added Macharia.
Speaking during the launch of a campaign dubbed “5 and Alive” in Kibera, Macharia said there is need to create awareness among Kenyans if Kenya is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child mortality and under-five mortality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015.
He emphasised that proper maternal healthcare is the best approach to use in curbing cases of infant mortality saying most cases can be prevented if proper care is administered.
Macharia said the ministry focuses on strengthening and scaling up of cost effective preventive health care services as outlined in Vision 2030.
“Kenya is among the 75 countries that contribute to more than 90 percent of the maternal child deaths in the world,” he said.
“We have made tremendous progress in the reduction of the vaccine preventable diseases such as polio and measles however we need to focus on more innovative and effective inventions like mobile phones for Health workers so as to accelerate progress,” explained Macharia.
He further called on development partners to collaborate with the government in its efforts to improve the health sector in the country.
“This campaign is calling for collaborative efforts by the government, stakeholders, private sector and the general public to take up collective roles in this journey of fighting infant mortality,” he explained.