Outrage as woman in labour delivers outside Pumwani gate

Despite her dire situation, the hospital guards shut the gate on her

A video clip of a woman in labour allegedly turned away at Pumwani Maternity Hospital, has elicited public outcry.

In the video that has since gone viral on social media, an unidentified woman, accompanied by a man, is seen overwhelmed by labour pains. She is seen writhing on the tarmac just outside the gate at the Pumwani Maternity Hospital.

Despite her dire situation, the hospital guards shut the gate on her and refused to let her in despite the rallying cries of the onlookers. It only took the intervention of a well-wisher and a group of other women to help the woman deliver.

Yesterday, a group of women leaders led by Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (Kewopa), demanded answers from the hospital over the incident.

Among those that descended on the hospital to register their protest was Caroline Gakii, who helped the woman deliver.

She recounted the day, nearly a week ago, when a walk to her workplace took her outside Pumwani Hospital and she bumped into the woman writhing in pain on the tarmac in the throes of labour.

"When I passed by, I saw a man carrying a pregnant woman from a car into the hospital but they were denied entry and told that the medical workers were on strike. They were told to find another hospital but the woman was in too much agony to move,” Gakii recounted.

She said as a woman, and egged on by the pleas of the pregnant women, she felt obligated to help. Even though she is untrained, with the help of the other women, Gakii encouraged the distressed woman to push and successfully helped her deliver a baby girl, before nurses from the medical facility opposite Pumwani, Care Hospital, rushed to cut the umbilical cord.

Caroline Gakii, the Good Samaritan who helped a woman give birth (Photo: Edward Kiplimo,Standard)

Belated response

It was only then that the Pumwani Maternity Hospital sent a wheelchair for the woman and admitted her, as recounted by Gakii.

She said she left immediately after the woman was admitted to the hospital and does not know anything about her.

A statement from the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) yesterday expressed regret over the incident.

"We take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to the mother and her child, their family, Nairobians and our mothers in particular for this most unfortunate incidence. We affirm our commitment to improve, ensure the delivery of affordable, accessible and quality Health Care," said NMS Director of Health Services Josephine Kibaru-Mbae.

Dr Kibaru-Mbae also said the security team seen in the video has been replaced and a customer care desk set up at the hospital.

In their defence, administrators at the hospital yesterday painted a grim picture on the day of the incident, which they told Kewopa leaders coincided with a strike by medical workers at the facility.

The protesting leaders, aside from touring the hospital’s maternity and new-born unit, demanded answers on the incident and names of the officers involved, promising not to rest until disciplinary action is taken.

“Can you imagine your nakedness being exposed on the tarmac? There is a lack of humanity. Where do we want these women to give birth?” complained Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda.

She also revealed that Kewopa would award Gakii for her heroism.