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Babies dumped at Kenyatta Hospital

Parents are abandoning children suffering from water-in-the brain disease at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Some of the children have been in the wards the whole of their lives after their mothers dumped them there for fear of ‘curses’.

According to the nurse in charge of ward 4C at the hospital, Ms RA Awiti, the children are abandoned not because their parents cannot afford the treatment but because of what she refers to as retrogressive cultural beliefs.

Worrying trend

When the mother to Brashil Igwosi brought him to the hospital on February 3, 2007, two days after he was born, it would be the beginning of his long stay at Kenya’s largest referral hospital.

Brashil is eight years old now and has known no other home except KNH where he is taken care of by nurses and social workers.

“His mother took off two days after she brought him here. She was just 18 years old and was working as a househelp in one of the estates in Nairobi. She never disclosed the exact location,” said Ms Awiti.

What she left at the hospital as her phone contact is no longer in use.

“When we interviewed her, she said it was a taboo in their culture to have a malformed first born child. Unfortunately, it never crossed our mind that she was planning to leave her child here,” said the nurse.

Brashil is not alone. When NairobiNews visited the hospital recently, there were three other children with the same condition abandoned in the ward.

Frankline Kaindiu was abandoned at the hospital in February this year. He has been there all along after his mother took off some days after bringing him for treatment. Calls to her phone went unanswered.

“Another baby girl was abandoned in early July but died a few days ago.

“The trend is worrying since it looks like cases of abandonment are not about to stop,” said the distressed nurse.

Foetal development

In yet another ward, there is Baby Martha Musyimi who was abandoned in April 2012 and Dennis Mwenya, brought to the hospital on January 18, this year.

Again, efforts to reach their mothers have borne no fruit.

There are a lot of misconceptions among a majority of Kenyans about congenital hydrocephalus.

Doctors refute the curse claim and say the condition is genetic. It could also be as a result of foetal development problems.

Paedetricians and nurses at KNH say they are afraid the children may develop drug resistance.