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Traditional birth attendants wait on strike windfall

Traditional birth attendants have not seen a surge in business despite the ongoing doctors’ strike that has paralysed operations in public hospitals.

Most had anticipated that more expectant mothers would turn up at their doorsteps to be assisted to deliver their babies, but the expected windfall has not materialised.

A survey by NairobiNews in Kibera revealed that mothers are seeking services from private clinics as well as Kenyatta National Hospital, which has in the past week been overwhelmed.

“Most of the mothers go to a free clinic which was recently opened by an non-governmental organisation,” said a Kibera traditional birth attendant, Jane Atieno.

Few mothers are seeking help from the birth attendants. Ms Atieno says she has delivered only three babies from the time the strike kicked off over a week ago.

She says mothers seem to have been empowered and now opt to go to deliver their babies in hospitals.

“I receive many expectant mothers who come just for a check-up or something… they do not want to give birth in my house,” she said during an interview at her house in the slum’s Gatwekera area.

But there are still some pregnant women who do not visit hospital at all. “They say they do not like hospitals  and they want to give birth here in my house. I have attended to many of those. If I notice any complications in their pregnancy, I refer them to hospital,” Atieno says.