Parents want truth about aids baby
By Judy Ogutu
Source: East African Standard
An Aids-free couple is demanding to know how their baby could have died of an HIV-related illness.
Since the death of Baby Ann Mumbi a year ago, anguished parents Charles Ndung’u Nderitu, 33, and Eunice Wangui, 24, have been searching for answers.
And yesterday, they were allowed by a Nairobi court to exhume the body for a DNA test — which will establish whether in fact that was their baby at all — before they start to find out how she was infected.
A DNA test will establish the baby’s parentage by checking her genetic information against that of the couple.
Should the results indicate that the baby they buried was not their biological child, then the parents will demand their child from a Nairobi hospital.
It has been a life of agony for the couple since their baby tested HIV positive about two weeks after being admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital where she died on June 5, last year.
The cause of death was said to be cardiopulmonary arrest due to severe septic anaemia. The report further says the child became anaemic after an attack of meningitis due to immunosupression.
According to Wangui’s affidavit, the baby was born at Pumwani Maternity Hospital, Nairobi, on January 9, 2003, through a caesarean section.
She woke up and found her daughter had already been taken to the hospital nursery and was informed the next day that the baby was suffering from jaundice and had to be taken back to the nursery.
Three days later, she noticed her baby was much smaller and, on inquiring from nurses, she was told the reduction in size was due to the fact that the child had had a blood transfusion.
Wangui adds that when she went to the nursery to breastfeed the child on January 20, she found out that the baby had been burnt on her left leg. No one gave her a satisfactory explanation for this.
The baby was later transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital and it was there that she was diagnosed as having contracted HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
" We have had problems trying to unravel how our child contracted HIV. We have gone for tests and they have all been negative," she said amid sobs on Monday as the couple announced their intention to seek an exhumation order.
The parents claim they have been tossed up and down in their bid to retrieve the baby’s medical records. Yesterday, Milimani Commercial Courts Magistrate Abdul El Kindy allowed the couple to exhume the body to take samples for a DNA test, and thereafter rebury it immediately.
The couple had gone to court through lawyer Gilbert Onyango under a certificate of urgency.
They told the magistrate they wished to establish whether or not the body, which is buried in their Nyeri home, is that of their child or of a stranger.
It is only after exhuming it that they would be able to decide their next course of action, their lawyer said.
He told the magistrate that the DNA results would help the parents to establish whether the remains buried were those of their daughter or whether there had been negligence on the part of medical personnel who may have given her infected blood.
Should the DNA test prove the baby was not their child, then the couple will be allowed to hand the body to the Government, El Kindy ordered. He also told the Nyeri police boss to provide security during the exhumation.