Women Living with Disabilities Decry Humiliation, Substandard Maternal Services


By Isabella Maua

Women with disabilities, teenage mothers, and expectant mothers from Elgon ward in Mt. Elgon Sub County have decried poor and substandard maternal services at government medical facilities.

Speaking during a community dialogue open meeting convened by the Youth for Sustainable Development Community Based Organization in collaboration with White Ribbon Alliance Kenya, Ann Chefuna, a 41-year-old mother, bemoaned humiliation and neglect from nurses while seeking maternity services.

“Not only do the medical practitioners look down upon us when we visit hospitals, but also the facilities themselves lack disability-friendly structures; the beds at the labour ward are very high for some of us,” decried Chefuna.

Nancy, who is a teenage mother and also lives with a disability, recalled an incident that made her vow never to go and give birth at a hospital ever in her life after.

“While attending the prenatal clinic, one of the nurses told me that I was not supposed to conceive since I am just a young girl living with disability. After such a statement, I couldn’t go back there, and I gave birth to my child at home,” she narrated.

Niva Chebet recalled the painful incident where she gave birth to her second child inside the hospital latrine after the nurses neglected her plea that she was in excruciating pain.

Annet Ndiema, a 30-year-old mother, could not hold back her tears as she harked back to the day all the nurses ran away from her during the day she was expecting her delivery.

“When I was going to the delivery room with my artificial limbs not in place, I really needed assistance since I could not move one bit. To my rudest shock, all the nurses ran away from me as though they had seen a ghost,” she narrated amidst tears.

It is for these reasons that YSD saw it fit to have an interactive session with the vulnerable women precisely on March 8, as the world celebrated Women’s Day.

One of the YSD Champions, Petronilla Pkomu, assured the women that their plea has been heard, and as it is their duty to ensure their comfort and well-being, they’ll reach the relevant county authorities and stakeholders on the same.

She reassured them: “We are here today to celebrate with you and share your atrocities as special beings amongst us. Rest assured that we are determined to ensure you have friendlier and quality services.”

Collins Masinde, YSD Chairperson in Bungoma County, vowed that they are going to localize solutions for challenges affecting women in the community by working closely with all stakeholders, including community health promoters, midwives, media, and policymakers, in subsequent meetings.

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