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Uproar after homeless woman gives birth at Uhuru Park

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Questions are being raised about the government’s commitment to free maternal healthcare after a woman, Rebecca Atieno, 20, gave birth at Uhuru Park on Tuesday, a day after losing her hotel job and moments after being kicked out of a rundown lodging in Muthurwa market after failing to raise Ksh50 fee.

Condemned to vagabond status, Ms Atieno walked to Uhuru Park, the only place she knew she could get a moment’s peace, she was beaten and tired and had no idea how the rest of the day would unfold.

After a while, nature called but she did not have Ksh10 fee required to access the public toilets at the park, the only item she had with her was her phone which was switched off, the attendant on site demanded that she deposit the phone before accessing the toilet.

The Standard on Thursday reported that Ms Atieno’s water broke at 2:00 pm at a time when she did not have any money and had already deposited her phone with the attendant.

She was forced to cling on a nearby tree strapped in her sweater where she gave birth.

“I am happy to have given birth to my child despite all the challenges. I am happy that I managed to deliver safely on my own,” The Standard quoted Ms Atieno.

After noticing what had transpired, a good samaritan called medics who assisted Ms Atieno before taking her to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

{Read: Kenya’s richest churches reap billions from worshipers}

Ms Atieno’s plight is raising debate on the effectiveness of the First Lady’s Beyond Zero’s campaign which is aimed at providing free maternity healthcare for all women in the country.

It also raises questions on the state of free maternity healthcare in public hospitals which are expected to provide the service to Kenyan women for free.

{See also: Kakamega woman expecting triplets gives birth to five babies at a go}

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President Dr William Ruto campaigned for re-election in the 2017 presidential poll claiming that the Jubilee Administration had delivered on its free maternity healthcare for all pledge.


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