Mike Sonko

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko yesterday discovered 12 bodies of infants stuffed in boxes at Pumwani Maternity Hospital.

The bodies were wrapped in polythene bags and packed in three boxes in a store. One box contained one body, another six and another five.

Sonko made an impromptu visit mid-morning on a boda boda, catching the management and workers unawares. He said the visit was prompted by a video clip by a resident showing people ferrying bodies from the wards.

The hospitals has been plagued by baby theft, alleged negligence, poor services and mistreatment of patients for years.

Sonko suspended top management officials and the board.

Medical superintendent Catherine Mutinda and other senior officers were not present. The governor streamed the raid live on his Facebook account.

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The cause of the deaths and why the babies were stuffed in boxes instead of taken to a holding room was not immediately established.

Sources at the facility said the infants died at the weekend, following a power blackout.

During the raid, an administrator told Sonko only one infant had died since Friday and that was the only body being kept at the facility.

I have told you I had information that there were six bodies here. Why are you telling me it is only one? an angry Sonko asked.

The administrator tried to defend himself saying, “The assistant chief nurse is the person who said that in the last 24 hours only one baby has died. I’m not the one. His excellency the Governor, these are bodies from Friday.”

But Sonko could hear none of it. He said,

Don’t play with me. When I came here, I had information that six babies died today. I don’t want jokes. Respect me.

Sonko ordered the administrator to open another box that was hidden under a table. Five more bodies were uncovered.

“How can you keep dead bodies in polythene bags? I’m not a fool to come here on a boda boda. These are bodies of human beings. Don’t stuff them the way you are doing. I can slap you now,” he said.

County director of communication Elkana Jacob said only six of the 12 bodies were recorded at the mortuary. The rest were undocumented, raising suspicion.

“During the surprise visit, the governor was also surprised to find out how expectant mothers struggle to get prenatal care at the maternity hospital,” Jacob said.

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Sonko suspended Mutinda, administration officers Zadock Angahya and George Nyadimo and obstetrician gynaecologist James Kamau for alleged incompetence.

The entire management board was also suspended.

“All those responsible for this negligence will face the full force of the law. I’m not going to allow this to happen to our mothers. They must take responsibility for the deaths,” the governor said.

After the raid, Sonko reported the incident to Pangani police station for investigation saying that it was suspicious for 12 babies to die at the facility in a day.

The maternity is run by the Nairobi government. Between 80 and 100 babies are delivered at the hospital each day.

Late last month, a woman was arrested while attempting to steal a three-day-old baby from the facility. The baby was in a backpack.

On January 6, 2015, twin babies were allegedly stolen at the hospital and it emerged the babies given to a couple after an alleged stillbirth were not their dead babies.

Nairobians were caught by surprise and took to social media to air their views on the Pumwani hospital case and even mothers who’ve ever visited the facility narrated their horrifying experience.

MC Evans Mr .Governor, kindly with your government… Please let the DNA test be free of charge in all the maternities so that when mama gives birth and is told the baby is dead,a DNA can be done immediately as an evidence.

Wamweeru B Nduungu Gitau Why don’t you close that facility for restructuring …my brother’s wife delivered sometimes back and was shown the baby and breastfed latter after going for a short call she got no child on bed latter to be told the nurse picked the baby because she had complications that the head was big than normal latter to be told the baby has died Kumbe mtoto alibadilishwa….i know that beautiful girl is somewhere fairing well with life with whoever bought her!!!!

David Malibet Muiru I lost my son in Kenyatta hospital due to negligence….. Imagine going home empty handed after 9 loooooooong months just to nurse a cs wound….pain of losing a child and nursing the wound……its only by the grace of God you pull thru!

Anne Wambùi Njoroge The fact remains that Pumwani has always had mysterious deaths that need to be investigated. Something drastic needs to be done.

Mase Craig Thumbs up for this, this is so inhumane, what happened to decency, what happened to empathy, even all. Nurses should be suspended all those who knew and never reported, this is manslaughter case need to be referred to DCI

Edwin Mogambi That is heartbreaking. Doctors and nurses have become negligent and careless juz because the maternity services are free!! What happened to the sanctity of life?

George Oraro I was there earlier today accompanying my friend whose wife delivered and was to be discharged. After waiting for hours for attendants who were hardly available to process the discharge, I had to leave before even being attended to because the officer in charge was not available. The laxity and care-free attitude of employees there is despicable. I hope the action of the governor will change operations in the facility.

Priscilla Joy Too sad to lose all those beautiful Angels something should be done ,are there mothers in that hos who know the pain of carrying a baby 9months then out of negligence you loose it.

Lilly Mwogah Emmy Shiruh I‘m depressed aki. I know a girl from home who was shown a dark dead baby yet she insisted her child was lightskin like her.I’m sure mtoi wake aliuzwa Tu hivo. I was pregnant then Aki I used to cry coz emotions za ball zilikuwa high

Dan Briphith This is the same way I lost my twins last year, very sad, midwives are better than these stupid nurses who passed exams with mwakenya

Margaret Ngugi The hospital officials are also very rude to the very pregnant women and their relatives. Lack of professional etiquette is very high at Pumwani

Ck Mimi Well done let justice b done to those mothers who lost there babies 😭😭😭out of negligence.

Josphat Koech  It’s very sad. Pumwani is not new when it comes to issues that has to do with deaths and infants. They must be exchanging dead babies with alive babies.The hospital needs a thorough cleanliness

Joseph Austeen They sold off my cousin’s baby and still charged her ksh. 7K for disposing off the body.

Blessed Watson That’s very heartbreaking carrying a baby for nine months and then out of negligence the baby’s life is lost! That’s inhumane and animosity of the highest order. May God’s wrath be upon them. They are nothing more than murderers….. thanks for the impromptu visit mheshimiwa

Morris Muthama Those guys must be arrested. It’s wrong, both morally and constitutionally, how does someone whose future is in the past decide to just frustrate the survival of an angel, a precious soul? Where is humanity!

Mary Njeru I visited the hospital to check on a friend and I could not be allowed to even enter where she was. Another patient had be rushed to the same hospital for delivery by neighbours as the husband was at work.When the husband come,they completely refused to allow him go see the baby.That was the worst experience.