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Nurses at Pumwani Maternity Hospital are putting more than four immaturely born babies in one incubator as they struggle to utilize the few incubators available to save babies lives.

Even as Pumwani struggles with serious financial strains, there are allegations that some staff at the hospital and City Hall are draining the little collections the hospital gets from patients and well-wishers.

A task force report containing damning findings on the operations at Pumwani Maternity Hospital and which is likely to shed light on the causes of the high maternal and child mortality at the facility has been handed over to appropriate government authorities for action.

Corruption, financial crisis, lack of critical supplies required by mothers and babies, mistreatment of mothers, moral and ethical decadence, and absenteeism among doctors, are highlighted as some of the factors that have compromised the quality of services delivered by the hospital.

That there is a need for skilled health care for maternity services cannot be over emphasised. Today the world needs more midwives to fight maternal deaths and disabilities occasioned by maternal causes. This is the message in the recently released UNFPA report on the state of the world’s midwifery.

“A proficient, motivated and supported midwifery workforce is a major key to success in tackling this heavy toll of death and disability,” says the report.

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Mutilator turned anti-FGM advocate

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February 6 was marked as the international day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. However, for those who earn a living out of cutting girls each year pokes holes into their business as clients reduce.

Were it not for her decision to shun her job as a female genital mutilator, Chepochekai Amokon would be a busy, and a rich woman right now.

The December holiday is the peak season for Female Genital Mutilation in East Pokot, from where Amokon, 80, comes from.

As a breast cancer survivor, I read with great concern views expressed recently in regular column in a local daily where the writer (a doctor) appeared to discourage women from taking screening mammograms arguing that “A mammogram is a screening tool used when there is a suspicion of breast cancer already”.

Scientists and a section of the herbalists are raising a red flag over the rising cases of high doses of conventional medicines being added to herbal products for them to have a high therapeutic value that attracts many customers.

Some of the people who have been using such products are now dashing back to doctors soon after the side-effects associated with the high doses start to manifest.

%AM, %03 %388 %2010 %11:%May

Kenyans embrace the mentally ill, but….

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When Prof David Ndetei rewinds his memory to 20 years ago on how mental illness was handled, he can afford a smile. At that time, stigma was at its peak and mistreatment of the mentally ill and disabled persons was the order of the day.

Forward to present, the situation is much different. Psychiatrists like him say society is finally beginning to understand that mental illness is treatable or manageable and those affected can be productive members of the society.

“What we fear most is patients who have recovered from their mental illness suing us for testing them or 

allowing someone else’s to test them when they were mentally unsound and could not consent to such interventions,” says a nurse at Mathari hospitalMedical personnel dealing with the mentally ill and disabled persons are finding it difficult to test them for HIV and AIDS or manage those who are HIV positive for fear of being taken to court.

According to nurses who deal with this class of patients, the law does not empower them to take consent on behalf of the patients before they are tested or put on drugs. Without legal backing, they are at a loss on how to start or force mentally ill patients who are HIV positive to take the antiretroviral drugs.

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