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I procured an abortion, I think I need help from a good doctor

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Having received assurance that we will not publish details that may betray her identity, KK opened up about the day in December 2018 when she had an abortion.

She revisited the searing pain she experienced after a man operating a backstreet clinic at the Coast gave her four pills: two to be swallowed and two to be shoved into her genitalia.

She recalled the casual attitude of the man who used seemingly unsterilised tools to pull out a three-month-old foetus from her womb in an badly-lit room. To make matters worse, she said, this was not the same man who had given her the pills.

She then bled to the point where she felt her organs were preparing for shutdown, in what would have been recorded as the death of a first-year university student just one semester into her tertiary education. KK also discussed the regret that has been weighing her down since.

“I should have carried the pregnancy to term. It is 100 times better,” she told theSaturday Nation.

Today, the world marks the International Safe Abortion Day, with KK still having many fears even after recovering from the horrific procedure.

“To date, I wonder whether they extracted everything in the womb or they left things inside,” she said.

“During periods, and sometimes even when not on periods, I experience some abdominal pains. Had I the (financial) ability, I would have gone to a professional to see whether anything remained inside,” she added.

Her decision to abort seemed the best option in the circumstances she was in. She was hardly a month old in university when she missed her period. Joining university in September had given her the freedom any young person craves — spending more time with her boyfriend, who was not in the same university but not far away. When she missed her period, at first she thought it was due to the change of environment.

October came and went. It did not help matters that she was very naive on matters sexuality.

“I called a friend and explained the situation to her. She told me to buy a pregnancy testing kit at a pharmacy. That shocked me a bit: What if I was pregnant? I am the firstborn of a single parent. A lot was expected from me now that I was in university,” KK narrated.

Two unflinching red lines on the test kit stared back at her. Thoughts raced in her mind. She thought about her mother; how she had sacrificed a lot to educate her. She thought about her neighbourhood; the many people who would be shocked to hear that she, of all people, was pregnant.

Her boyfriend declined to take responsibility. “He asked if he was the only one I was seeing and told me to ask the others. I wondered who ‘the others’ were,” said KK.

Against that backdrop, she thought abortion would be the best alternative.

December 4, 2018, was the set date for the procedure. The man at the clinic had asked for Sh4,000, which she haggled down to Sh3,500.

From 10am when she was given the four pills, it was a day of excruciating pain up to around 5pm, when she was allowed to go home in the company of the friend who had recommended the pregnancy test.

She would bleed for four days before it stopped, during which she was shell-shocked, fearing the worst.

A year later, KK is a scarred woman. Her boyfriend cut ties with her and she has gone slow on dating.

“I just abstain,” she said.

She hardly talks about the abortion experience: “You (this writer) are the second person I am telling this, apart from the female friend.”

There is also one lingering doubt in her mind: What if the procedure damaged her reproductive system?

“We sometimes believe that, that (aborted pregnancy) may be the only child you were given. So, there is the worry as to whether I can conceive again. It still perturbs me,” she said.

Hearing KK’s story, one wonders whether she could have walked into a mainstream health facility and requested an abortion.

It has been three months since the High Court issued a judgment on abortion, in which five judges were unequivocal that “abortion is illegal in Kenya, save for the exceptions provided under Article 26(4) of the Constitution.”

The judgment, however, reinstated a hitherto-withdrawn document that offers guidelines on how women should be helped in case they procure unsafe abortions. It provides uterine evacuation (removal of all components in a woman’s womb) as one of the solutions. The document titled Standards and Guidelines on Reduction of Maternal Mortality from Unsafe Abortion was released by the Ministry of Health in 2012. It was suspended through a memo from the Ministry in February 2014, but reinstated by the High Court judgment of June 12, 2019.

The document says that if women like KK were to go to a health facility seeking medical attention due to complications arising from abortion, they should be treated with “compassion, respect and dignity”.

Marie Stopes, one of the institutions that offers such services, told the Saturday Nation that last year it offered post-abortion care services to thousands of women.

“In 2018, Marie Stopes Kenya provided over 100,000 comprehensive post-abortion care services, thus saving lives of women,” said Ms Roselyne Ouso, the marketing manager.

The services included managing complications of induced abortion, counselling and providing post-abortion family planning “to help clients prevent future unwanted pregnancies and repeat abortions to reduce morbidity and mortality from unsafe abortions”.

Ms Ouso noted that from a 2012 report of the African Population and Health Research Centre, an estimated 464,690 induced abortions occur every year in Kenya.

With the guidelines on unsafe abortion in place, one would argue that they open the floodgates for women to terminate pregnancies then rush to mainstream health facilities for further medical attention. This is more so because of a declaration by the High Court that pregnancy out of rape that will be adjudged to be a danger to the mother may be terminated under the exceptions in the Constitution.

But Evelyne Opondo, senior regional director for the Centre for Reproductive Rights — which represented petitioners in the case that was finalised by the High Court in June — says it is ill-conceived to think that women would use rape or other excuses to make it easy to procure abortion.

“People don’t want to pretend that they have been raped. And in any case, termination of pregnancy is still dependent on the opinion of a doctor. So, it is not just a woman walking in and saying, ‘I am pregnant, I have been raped.’ The medical provider — as allowed by the Constitution — will determine that,” said Ms Opondo.

She also called on the Health Ministry to issue guidelines to eliminate quacks who conduct abortions.

“They should regulate it so that only people who are qualified, and who do not further harm women, are providing these services. Two, the Constitution allows for mid-level providers such as nurses and clinical officers to provide these services now. But they’ve not already been trained in medicine. It’s important for the Ministry of Health to expand these trainings and train middle-level providers,” said Ms Opondo.

 Among those who oppose assertions for women’s freedom to choose is the Catholic Church. In the case determined in June, the church submitted through the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association that rape is not a medical illness but a “social problem” and, as such, it should not justify abortion.

“The church submitted that the right to life is the most sacrosanct right upon which all other rights under the Constitution are hinged, hence there is no use for the Bill of Rights where there is no life,” reads a summary of the proceedings.

And while opinions are divided on the choices a pregnant woman has, KK — who has witnessed first-hand the horrors of abortion — advises women to simply carry the pregnancy to term unless it poses a serious risk.

“It is 100 times better to carry it rather than be injured. You can never be sure if you were properly cleaned after the event. There are regrets. It is a bad thing, like you face death; like you are attempting to kill yourself,” she said.

She added: “The pain of giving birth might equal the pain of having an abortion, but the pain of giving birth is natural. For abortion, you see someone right there cutting you up, and you don’t leave with a child.”

by nation.co.ke

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Entertainment

Meet Anne Okoth wife to Kibra’s new MP Imran Okoth

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They say behind every successful man there must be a woman and for Imran Okoth that woman is his wife, Anne Ithara Okoth, his companion of many years.

Although not much is known about her she was seen by her husband’s side in the just-concluded Kibra by-elections.

Imran Okoth and his wife Anne

Many might wonder why Okoth is called Imran what many do not know is that he is a converted Muslim.

He decided to convert to Islam owing to his upbringing in Kibra where most of his friends were Nubians.

“He never left Kibra. He has spent his whole life there. He settled there and is married with children. The name Imran is not an alias. That became his name after he became a Muslim.”

Imran-Okoth
Imran Okoth

Imran was declared the winner on Friday morning after garnering 24,636 votes to beat Jubilee’s McDonald Mariga.

Mariga conceded defeat when the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) figures from 40 out of 183 polling stations showed he was second.

 

By Mpasho

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Diaspora

VIDEO: Furious Bishop in US tells off Kenyans who go drinking alcohol at funerals

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A US-based Bishop is unhappy with some Kenyan immigrants whom he says are tarnishing the good name of the community. Bishop Dr GG Gitahi of  Kenyan American Community Church (KACC) in Marietta, Georgia, has chastized some of his compatriots for what he terms as “unacceptable habits.”

During his Sermon aptly titled “Let Us Choose,” last Sunday, Bishop Dr GG Gitahi “went after” those who carry alcohol to funerals homes and imbibe while the funeral service is going on and furiously said he wishes some of those people remained back in Kenya to “save us the embarrassment.”

“If you are one of those people, you are an embarrassment to the larger Kenyan community in the US,” he said.

Ni aibu kubwa mnatuletea hapa. Instead of people waiting to go and have their beer at home, wanaenda kwa funeral Homes na kutoa bia na kuanza kunywa. Halafu Director wa Funeral Home anasema Pastor, can’t your people have mannersTabia zingine tuache. Ndiyo sababu tunajiaibisha.”

You can watch the whole summon here courtesy of youtube/kacc:

 


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News

How one man attempted to save Kenyans from poisonous maize

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NTV on Sunday aired an explosive exposé dubbed ‘White Alert’ which highlighted how millions of Kenyans consumed toxic food products as parliament watched silently.

In the 90-minute investigative documentary, former Member of Parliament for Naivasha Constituency, John Mututho, brought to light how former Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) Managing Director the late Dr Kioko Mang’eli tried to stop poisonous maize from being released into the market.

POISONOUS 

In a sworn affidavit, which was tabled in Parliament in May 2009, the former Kebs boss accused the Prime Minister and officials in his office of putting pressure on him to authorize the maize in dispute.

The affidavit also revealed that officials of the National Cereals and Produce Board were pushing Mang’eli to approve the releasing of the maize into the market.

Mang’eli wrote to the then Managing Director at the National Cereals & Produce Board (NCPB) Gideon Misoi, highlighting the potential hazards that would arise if the general population was exposed to the poisonous maize.

“From past experiences, maize with moisture contents of more than 13.5 percent have resulted in the development of molds that produce aflatoxins that have adverse effects on both animals and human beings,” reads an excerpt from the late Mang’eli’s letter.

The same letter was sent to Prof John Lonyangapuo who was serving as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industrialization at the time.

The information was passed to Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), who suspiciously gave the maize consignment a clean bill of health, despite the state agency lacking the equipment necessary for aflatoxin testing.

TESTING

“Currently the machines for testing aflatoxins are out of order though being repaired, they are using SGS laboratories (subcontracting) for such test and others,” read a section of a KEPHIS internal memo.

In 2009 the then Prime Minister Raila Odinga was put on the spot in Parliament over the controversial 6,000 metric tonnes of contaminated maize held in Mombasa, with MPs insisting that it was illegally off-loaded and released to the public.

Odinga denied the allegations, saying it was the MPs who were playing politics.

While appearing before Departmental Committee on Agriculture, which was chaired by Mututho, Mang’eli said he had been threatened by powerful personalities for protecting Kenya from Aflatoxin laced products and indicated he was under extreme pressure psychologically.

Mututho also claimed to have personally witnessed legislators receiving cash from within parliament premises to quash the Report on Food Security Status and the Maize Shortage in the Country that was tabled at the national assembly in April 2009.

“In fact, they received bribes inside the parliament itself and when I was debating that evening I could see one gentleman with a big bag up there in the Speaker’s gallery dishing out cash,” Mututho claimed.

REPLACED

“Eventually I was alone debating against the likes of Orengo, the like of Raila, the likes of Ntimama, and all the others, 72 of them against me, all the other legislators needed to pass a vote had simply disappeared,” he added.

Ndaragwa MP, Jeremiah Kioni, on his part said that the MPs received as much as Sh18 million per head from powerful lobbyists to just walk out of Parliament when the report was being tabled to kill the motion from the onset.

After frustration from the government Mang’eli was replaced that same year as Kabs Managing Director.

On September 8, a confidential letter from then Head of Public, Francis Muthaura, to Prof Lonyangapuo said Dr Mang’eli had been relieved of his duties “in the public interest.”

Mang’eli would then blame his downfall on Odinga whom he accused of vendetta and tribalism.

“My exit is both political and tribal. I have been forced out by people who lost in the maize import saga. The maize saga was a war not a battle and those who lost have come back to fight us,” Mang’eli was quoted by Nation then.

Mang’eli passed away on March 14, 2019, from pressure-related illnesses.

by NN

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