Expectant Maasai women shun hospitals over Corona fears

Thursday, May 28th, 2020 00:00 |
Corona isolation centre.

Expectant Maasai women in Kajiado county have now resorted to seeking the services of traditional midwives in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic instead of visiting health centres.

The women in rural villages say they fear contracting the virus at hospitals, and they now prefer to go back to the old practice of using traditional birth attendants.

“Our women believe that Covid-19 is in towns and some even warn expectant mothers against seeking medical services in hospitals to curb spread of the virus.

They also fear clinics which are in the rural areas since majority of those who work there are non-locals who are considered possible carriers of the virus,” said Linet Njari, and elder at Kenyawa. 

Statistics from community health centres show that many women are shying away from seeking antenatal services.

Shun visits

Nalala Community Clinic in Emali is a classic example of how the pandemic has changed the way of life among expectant women.

In the entire month of May, only one woman has sought antenatal services out of 27 who  had enrolled for their clinic visits at the facility.

“Since the announcement of the first case of the deadly virus, expectant Maasai women have shunned  antenatal clinic visits.

Records speak for themselves,” said Lucy Wabuti, the nurse in charge of the facility. 

Wabuti said the trend is worrying, as more women and newborns are exposed to health dangers.

 She said more than 10 of the registered women were already due and had delivered at home while the rest no longer sought antenatal services.

Medics say the trend is worrying and is endangering lives of mothers and newborns.

Non-governmental organisations and security apparatus have now stepped in to sensitise the community to take precautions against Covid-19 but to guard against practices that may endanger the lives of pregnant women and newborns. 

In a major sensitisation campaign conducted by Emali administration led by Mashuuru Assistant County Commissioner Boniface Mwenda  yesterday, community elites were urged to be in the fore front to  rally expectant mothers to seek antenatal services. 

Seek services

A spot check by People Daily established that most hospitals which offer antenatal services to  a high number of Maasai women including Ng’atataek hospital in Ilbisil Kajiado central were deserted.

Residents have been warned against stigmatising those who seek health services from hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic period.

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