Why Kenyan men now want hospitals to flung open their maternity wards so that they can catch ‘doctors redhanded in the act’ even if it means breaking a ‘taboo’

Why Kenyan men now want hospitals to flung open their maternity wards so that they can catch ‘doctors redhanded in the act’ even if it means breaking a ‘taboo’. (SDE)
  • Holding your wife’s hand as she gives birth and whispering words of encouragement before proceeding to wipe her face, covered in sweat, clean with a white wet towel is a gesture most African men would only dare be caught dead indulging in, in a fictitious Hollywood flick.
  • Men from a tiny village of Fafaro in Likuyani Constituency located in Kakamega County however, want to do just that and have asked the government to heed their demands failure to which they would resort to drastic action.
  • While most women would welcome the grand gesture with some even classifying it as the epitome of romance, Fafaro men are ,however, more practical and sensible than romantic in their call.

In Kenya like most African countries giving birth is mostly a woman’s affair.

In most cases, the script is the same, the father of the unborn kid would drop the expectant mother to the hospital and once his wife has been admitted, he would then while his time away waiting for the bundle of joy as the woman goes into labour.

Holding your wife’s hand as she gives birth and whispering words of encouragement before proceeding to wipe her face, covered in sweat, clean with a white wet towel is a gesture most African men would only dare be caught dead indulging in, in fictitious Hollywood flicks.

So, it's a bit strange and even goes against the norm when African men, more so those hailing from far flung villages who now want government hospitals to flung open the maternity wards doors and allow them inside to be with their wives during their hour of need.

But that is exactly what the men from a tiny village of Fafaro in Likuyani Constituency located in Kakamega County want to do and have since asked the government to heed their demands failure to which they would resort to taking some very drastic actions.

“They need to allow us inside those maternity wards since it is us men who struggle with these women, why are they refusing for us to go inside? Why are they refusing me to go inside and i am the one who made them these women pregnant in the first place,” a tall, bespectacled man captured by Citizen TV, a local TV channel wondered aloud.

While most women would welcome the grand gesture with some even classifying it as the epitome of romance, Fafaro men are ,however, more practical and sensible than romantic in their call. They want an extra pair of eyes inside the maternity wards, while their heavily exhausted wives who will in most cases will be out and falling in and out of consciousness after labour, to ensure their babies are not stolen or switched at birth only to be told that their ‘poor baby’ had died.

“I would like to request the government to allow at least one family member of those going to give birth to accompany the expectant mother inside the maternity ward because while giving birth the expectant mother is always like she is dead, she can’t even tell how many kids she has given birth to. Cases of switching babies at birth is very common and i personally have even seen a couple being told that their baby has died and that could have been a lie,” another man said.

How it all started...

Fafaro’s men quest to enter the ‘hallowed maternity ward’ follows a big puzzle of two identical girls who suspect they were separated at birth only to be reunited by accident nearly 20 years later, which broke out early this week.

On Tuesday, Sharon Mathias and Melon Lutenyo, who look like two peas in a pod, were finally reunited in an emotional meeting that has since set tongues wagging.

But even as the two shaded tears of joy, their families were plunged into a big dilemma and are now seeking answers over the unusual occurrence.

On August 15, 1999, Rosemary Onyango went to Kakamega County Referral Hospital expecting to give birth to triplets.

I gave birth to two children on August 15, 1999 at the former Kakamega General Hospital (now Kakamega County Referral Hospital) when my pregnancy was eight and a half months,” she said.

“Before that, all the doctors who were attending to me used to tell me that I will give birth to triplets.” she added.

She would, however, later be told that her caesarean delivery had only brought forth twins, whom she named Melon and Mevies Imbaya.

The twins were placed in an incubator for about a week due to low birth weight before Rosemary was discharged and returned to Fafaro with her babies.

Since then, however, Rosemary admits to having wondered why her twin daughters were not identical. She would, however, let the matter rest for nearly two decades.

Just two days earlier before Rosemary went into labour, on August 13, 1999, another woman by the name Angeline Omina, had been at the same hospital where she gave birth to a baby girl. That girl was named Sharon.

Since then, the family of Richard Lukoa has been raising Mevis and Melon at their home in Likuyani, Matunda, Kakamega County, whereas Sharon has been staying with her parents in Kangemi, Nairobi.

All seemed okay until the Pandora Box was flung open last year

Everything was okay until late last year when things took a surprising turn of events.

This is after Melon suspected she could have another sister after she and her schoolmates went to Shikoti secondary, a nearby school, and students there wondered why she looked exactly like their schoolmate Sharon.

“When I went to Shikoti, students confronted me and started laughing. I was so afraid after they told me that I had a sister at their school. I told them I had a sister at Kimosin Girls and not Shikoti,” Melon told a local daily, the Standard. They, however, were not lucky to meet that day.

In another incident, Melon's teachers went to Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology for a motivational talk. The event was also attended by Sharon, and the teachers were shocked to discover Melon’s look-alike.

“My class teacher returned and asked me whether I was a ghost. He said he saw me in Kakamega dressed in Shikoti Secondary School uniform,” Melon said.

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back

Sharon, would later out of curiosity, send a Facebook friend request to Melon which she accepted it.

First, I thought someone had hacked my account because she looked exactly like me and even wore clothes similar to mine,” said Sharon.

During the April holiday armed with the photo of Sharon, Melon confronted her mum with the picture. Her mother however, dismissed her thinking Melon was just pulling her leg and the pictures were her’s.

A week ago, Melon and her sister Mevies, after meeting Sharon online, decided to go to Nairobi to look for her in Kangemi.

The two teenagers left for Likuyani on Sunday night and arrived in Nairobi on Monday without the knowledge of Sharon’s mother.

“It was our first time to travel to Nairobi and we met in town. We hugged and cried uncontrollably. It was like there was a strong bond between us and that makes me believe that Sharon is my sister. We now want a DNA test done immediately to end the doubts,” Melon said.

On her hand, Sharon is dying to be reunited with her sister but says she doesn’t want to sever links with her mother who raised her up.

“If a DNA test reveals that Rosemary is my mother then I would wish to stay with her but will not accept to be separated completely from my mother in Nairobi.” Sharon said.

Later on, Richard Olukhakha and Rosemary Onyango, parents of Melon Lutenyo, took the girls to a local health facility to determine their blood groups and Mr. Olukhakha was surprised to learn that they were all O Positive, just like him.

Government steps in to try and make head and tail of the unfolding mystery

The government has since stepped in to try to make head and tail of the unfolding mystery which continues to attract huge public interest.

On Wednesday, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) said it would fund a DNA test to find out if the two identical girls are blood sisters.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has also asked the parties involved in the Kakamega twin mystery to record statements in order for the probing agency to establish if a crime was committed.

Distraught Omina slowly coming to terms that Sharon might not her own flesh and blood

Meanwhile, Angeline Omina, mother to Sharon, has said she is fearful about confronting the reality that Sharon may not be her daughter and has appealed to professional counsellors to come out and help them cope up with the new development in their lives.

“It is also our wish that before and after the DNA, we will get professional counsellors to help us cope with the outcome,” she said

Fafaro’s men quest to enter the ‘hallowed maternity ward’ is still on course

As the twin mystery continues to unfold, Fafaro men remain unswayed in their quest to make the maternity ward free for all and blind to gender and continue to receive support even from the opposite sex.

“And to men out there, don’t just impregnate your wives and then stay at home waiting for the bay to be brought back home, go inside there and see how your wives are faring.” a local woman who spoke to Citizen TV said.

Failure by the government to abide by the Fafaro’s men demands, and the men have threatened to swiftly abandon hospital altogether and instead take their wives to traditional midwives where they have more control and are on top of things.

“It is better to take our women to the traditional midwives because that way we as men are always just outside the house while the woman is inside giving birth, when you hear the baby crying you just rush back inside to find your baby alright but in the hospital they always hide things from us, so now we know what has been going on all along.” Another men said.

The residents also want the government to take punitive action against the hospital should it be found that the doctors at the facility colluded in one way or another in executing the ‘Kakamega twin mystery’

Meanwhile, Kakamega County Health Cabinet Secretary, Rachel Okumu has directed health records from Kakamega Referral Hospital be immediately scrutinized, with a magnifying glass if need be in order to get to the bottom of the matter.

“We are in the process of trying to establish whether the facts are true because it is a long time, 1999 is a long time but I have asked my officers at the county hospital to go into the records of 1999 and try to extract that information and once we get it, we will be able to communicate,” said Okumu.

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