Dar es Salaam. There was drama at the Nguvu Kazi Health Center at Chanika on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam on Monday after a woman claimed that her day-old new-born had either died or gone missing under suspicious circumstances.
The parents have since refused to collect the lifeless body of the baby demanding to have DNA tests performed to ascertain whether they are its biological parents.
On September 7, 2020, Maisha Ally, 22, was admitted to the Health Center ready for delivery.
On September 8, 2020, Maisha delivered a baby whose sex was not declared to her by the attendants.
“I delivered at around 7pm through the caesarean section. I was not shown the baby but I could see what was happening. They had only applied anaesthesia in my lower part of the body, so, I was aware of what was happening,” she told The Citizen at her Nyeburu home on Monday.
Maisha’s husband and relatives learnt that she had delivered but when they visited her at the Health Center, the visiting time was almost over.
“They were told to return at 4pm and were to bring some tea and be ready to pay Sh91,000 for medical expenses,” she narrated.
When they returned in the evening, nurses informed them that Maisha was in a critical condition and that she had been unconsciousness and that the baby had been referred to Amana.
Two of the relatives entered the maternity ward. To their surprise, they found Maisha in good health. “They asked me if I had seen the baby. I told them I had not,” she narrated.
She further said that later, a nurse approached her and told her (Maisha) to give her (the nurse) some money so she (the nurse) could go and by diapers for the baby ready to transfer it to Amana.
“I became so worried. Why should they send the baby to Amana without me? How come they want me to give money for diapers while they had told my relatives that the baby had been referred to Amana?”
According to her, the same questions were in the minds of her relatives.
The husband, Stephano Alphonce, 23, said they returned to the Health Centre when they were told that the baby had died.
At the Health Center, they were instructed to go and pick their baby’s body from Amana Hospital mortuary.
“We objected to this. How would we be sure of the baby whose even sex was not communicated to us nor to the mother? How could we go there to collect the body of a baby whose face the mother has not seen? The baby who was referred to Amana without involving its mother?” he inquired.
With a lot of unanswered questions, Stephano refused to go and collect the body demanding that DNA tests must first be conducted to ascertain whether the baby is truly theirs.
Nyeburu Street chairman Hamis Geta said he was aware of the case, noting that it was being handled by the police and other government agencies.
Nguvu Kazi Health Center medical officer Kanansia Shoo said the matter was being handled by Ilala chief medical officer.
For her part, Ilala chief medical officer Emily Lihawa said she had been on leave and that she had only reported back to work on Monday.
According to medical procedures pertaining to reproductive health, a sick infant can only be transferred from one hospital to another in the company of its mother.
According to the procedures, immediately after a woman delivers, she must be informed of the gender of the infant.
“This means that the mother must see her baby and its sex,” said an expert from the Ministry of Health who requested not to be mentioned because he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the ministry.
He said if an infant is born with certain unhealthy conditions, it can only be transferred to another hospital in the company of its mother, irrespective of the mother’s health condition.
“The parental referral guide says both of them must go together because she needs to breast feed the baby. That’s why I said there are social welfare issues that must be observed and procedures to follow,” he said.