Kenya payout for mother made to deliver on hospital floor

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Kenyan mother is seen is courtImage copyright AFP
Image caption The court ruled that the rights of Josephine Majani (centre) had been infringed

A woman who was physically abused and left to deliver her baby on the floor of a county hospital in Kenya has been awarded $25,000 (£18,000).

In the landmark ruling, a Bungoma high court judge said Josephine Majani’s rights were violated as she gave birth.

Mrs Majani said nurses had slapped and verbally abused her in 2013 and left her to deliver her baby in full view of the public.

Her ordeal was secretly captured on camera by a hospital intern.

High court judge Abida Aroni said the mother’s rights to health and dignity had been infringed at Bungoma county hospital, around 400km (250 miles) north-west of Nairobi.

The ruling establishes a precedent in the way other similar cases will be settled in a country struggling to fix its maternal healthcare system.

One of Mrs Majani’s lawyers, Martin Onyango, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme that his client had been “forced to walk by herself to the delivery room for the removal of the placenta” after she gave birth on the floor.

He said the verdict was a “big win” for women in Kenya.

“It is an affirmation that these services must be of good quality and services must be offered in a dignified way,” Mr Onyango, a senior legal advisor for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said.

The BBC’s Victor Kenani in Nairobi says that many Kenyan government hospitals are ill-equipped to provide women with quality and dignified maternal services.

It comes as the country’s health minister ordered an investigation into claims new mothers were sexually assaulted at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.

Last month, the wrong patient was given brain surgery in the same hospital.

They were meant to operate on a man with a blood clot on the brain. But the man who had surgery only needed non-invasive treatment for swelling.

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