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Women 'detained' in hospital

I was touched by a recent story aired at one of my local channels about 43 women who were detained 3 months ago after delivery. The reason for their ‘imprisonment’ at Kenyatta National Hospital was because they could not raise about Kshs. 4,000 maternity fee.

Sad is the fact that these women had to spend their post-natal days in ‘prison’ with no nourishing food that they require. The sad bare truth is that many women in Kenya undergo these undignified situations because of poverty in most African countries. Can you imagine the ‘prison’ that you undergo as a pregnant woman? (By pregnancy prison in the African setting, I mean the usual, ‘thou shalt not eat these, do this, mingle with this group or even say this’ because you are pregnant). There are immediate boundaries in the society once you get pregnant. Some communities even go further to stigmatize pregnancy.

And imagine after all the trauma of child birth and you are ‘detained’ in the real sense… You are shoved in a heavily-padlocked and guarded room with little comfort for your ‘bundle of joy’ and your worn out body… My challenge to governments... why not subsidize maternity fees to give women the decency that they require as they protect the generational tree? I think this is very possible.


aliĝngix's picture

My Goodness...

I didn't know that. This is a pratice their? I guess they need collectors, but these people are like loan sharks. The hospitals are being unreasonable. They should ask if they pay off a debt over time? They are mothers, and as good people who would eventually pay it. I guess reality takes over, but still... Maternity fees from the government, I like that.
But still, who would go as far as trap a pregnant woman inside just because she can't deliver on her fees just yet? ?
I'm from America, and guess I take most of the services here for granted. It's good to be informed so we can do something about this. Thank you for bringing these to World Pulse. I don't think you could get this information easy unless you talk to people from there, or join an organization. Do you know of any that does this sort of thing? If, so, poin me in the right direction, and thanks for your time.

Thanks for sharing this.

Joannes's picture

It is real

The bare truth is that this practice is not new in Kenya. Most hospitals do that... a contributing factor as to why there is high death rates for expectant women. Many are not able to access medical facilities or would rather give birth at home because of such repucussions.
About whether i know of any organization, are you asking about an organization that bails these women out or did i get you wrong?

We Can Do It!

Dear Joannes,
Thanks for sharing this story. I was wondering is there any organization who is raising their voice against this or not? I can understand the miserable situation of pregnant women in your country. I can feel it but atleast if there was no any organization you are raising your voice. please continue raising your voice untill there is equality and peace in your country. We are with you.
With Love and regards
Sunita Basnet

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

Joannes's picture

Sunita, Thanks alot. Luckily,

Thanks alot. Luckily, there is an organization that stepped in and waived the bill. But the problem is that these are just a few women representing a whole lot going through the same situation.
it is only through our voices that we can speak for the voiceless. Thanks.

We Can Do It!

enDhruva's picture

Breaks my heart

This story just breaks my heart. I just don't understand how someone can be cruel to a woman who has given life to another human being and in turn be cruel to the innocent, new baby. I know it happens, I know there are probably even worse things that are happening around the world - and that includes my country - but it just kills me that there is no advocate for pregnant mothers, new mothers ......mothers in general. Thank you for bringing this to life for me. Although I am saddened to to learn that this happens, I am happy to know so I can keep my eyes open for any solutions or ways to bring light to this problem. And I think your idea of subsidizing is very, very interesting!

Many blessings,

Joannes's picture


I think subsidizing maternity fees is a good idea. It will help those women who can't reach charitable organizations to waive their bills. we need to be advocates to these women, especially during such delicate situations like child birth.

Thanks a lot.

We Can Do It!

I share the dismay and disgust at the at what those women were subjected to. Having gone through childbirth myself, nothing beat taking home your new bundle of joy and even if , the place you call home is a one room shack in Kenya biggest slum, home is home.

These women were housed on the corridor and the emergency exit of the hospital. Forced to sleep on the deathly cold hard floor, with nothing but thin blankets between then and the hard surface. For fear that they would "run away" they were forced to wash their clothes and hang them to dry in this very limited space. Imagine the suicidal combination of the cold, dampness and confinement!

They had to share whatever little food they would get amongst themselves more often than not barely just tasting. Their babies knowing only breast milk must have had it tough. Were they getting enough milk! While hunger prangs gnaw at the the mothers as their babies suckle them dry , the two honourable "read dishourable" Health Ministers shameless fight in public over who has more power and who is "working!" Power hungry Ogres ! KENYA WE VOTED IN OGRES and now we can only watch as they rip Kenya apart as they fight over who gets the bigger piece, all in the name of power and the first to suffer as usual are the women and children.

Sophie's picture

oh good mothers

I always feel that this is one of the areas that could be targeted for the free medical. the country may not be able to get medical insurance for everyone as the optimistic former health minister wanted but it would make sense to provide this for natal care

Sophie Ngugi
Child of the Universe

busayo's picture

Y ou See What We Are Saying

This is exactly what we are saying,What is it going to take our African leaders to have free Maternity Centres, even Hospitals that are free but because of their selfishness, greediness and wickedness, they would prefer to divert funds to do such things into their own accounts.I know things like these happens because we have cases like that also in my country but we still have some Local Maternity Centers that are relatively cheap. We should do something to help this women or are we going to allow them to continue to be in prison for the rest of their lives. Only God knows where their husbands are, those women are the only one suffering. They suffer to give birth to their children and again held hostage. Why can't the hospital keep their husbands and allow those women and their babies go home to take care of themselves. This is ridiculous, the Government of Kenya should do something fast. Lets also contact the president wife on this issue.


Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria

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