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KNH bosses questioned in probe into attack on new mothers

Top Kenyatta National Hospital managers have been questioned over claims of attacks on new mothers at the hospital.

This follows reports that some new mothers were being sexually harassed on the corridors of the hospital.

Those questioned by police include the chief security officer and other security officials there. Other top managers at the hospital were also questioned on Sunday and Monday. A team of detectives handling the probe had also booked an appointment with the hospital CEO Lily Koros for questioning regarding the issue.

The security officials told the team investigating the matter no complaint had been lodged with them over the claims.

The team is also said to have sought opinion from a number of Officers Station Commanders on if any complaint had been reported to them in the county.

Police handling the matter now want any of the victims to volunteer information to them to enable them move the cases forward.

“There seems to be no complaint so far on these issues. We urge those affected to come to us to help us progress with the probe.

Another team from the hospital was supposed to submit their preliminary report to the Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu. Koros has promised to investigate the complaints though she has maintained the hospital has never received rape or harassment complaints from maternity patients.

Mailu gave the hospital’s management up to Monday to report back to him with the findings of their internal investigations.

Allegations of rape, attempted rape and sexual harassment first came to the fore on social media on Thursday where scores of mothers recounted harrowing tales of how they were accosted along dimly lit stairs and elevators with most victims pointing a finger at morgue attendants moving bodies at night.

But Ms Koros has denied the allegations saying mortuary attendants use service lifts, which are separate from lifts used by patients and clients.

“For the mortuary attendants, I want to say that like any other employee of this hospital every individual is vetted. Before you’re employed, you actually have to come with a good conduct certificate,” said Koros on Friday.

Some of the new mothers told a group of Women Parliamentarians how lax security measures and loopholes at the institution and the floor structure at the maternity ward have combined to create fertile ground for sexual predators.

Led by Kirinyaga County Woman Representative and Chairperson of the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association, Wangui Ngirici, the legislators heard how mothers are forced to walk along the wide and long corridors, and take the stairs to breastfeed their babies with minimal security.

“The mothers have told us they need good lighting and security, especially on the second floor. There is sufficient lighting on the first and third floor but security can be beefed up,” said Ngirici.

The maternity wing occupies a section of the first and third floors, with the nurseries on both floors meaning new mothers can be on the first floor using the stairs to the third floor to breastfeed.

“The mothers have told us that they come to breastfeed at least four times at night and most of the time they are unaccompanied by security officers. They have requested that they are all put on one floor especially near where the newborn unit is,” the MPs said on Saturday.

“One mother (who had already been discharged) has shared with us that on one of the days she had come to breastfeed her baby, she was chased by a patient along the corridors. Nothing happened to them luckily, we thank God,” said Samburu nominated Senator Naisula Lesuuda.

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