Clinics Shut As Police Probe ‘Miracle Babies’

Two clinics at the centre of bizarre claims of 13 miracle babies born to a woman aged 56 were yesterday ordered closed, as investigators failed to trace any of the children’s medical records.

The clinics, in the densely populated Huruma and Ngomongo slums of Nairobi, were shut down for operating without valid registration certificates.

Police took away medical records and other documents for further investigations.

After the clinics were closed, at around 10.30am, police had to shoot once in the air to clear a path through the large crowd of people who had turned out to see what was happening at one of the clinics, the Mama Lucy in Huruma.

A man claiming to be a nurse there was arrested by police after he failed to produce a certificate from the Nursing Council of Kenya allowing him to practice.

Named Mr Daniel Ochieng, he said he had trained as nurse at Uriri hospital in Migori and graduated in 1994.

The other clinic to be closed was the Ngomongo maternity and nursing home which was also shut for failing to have an incinerator and placenta pit.

Both Ngomongo and Mama Lucy were said to be owned by a Dr Danson Njoroge, an ear, nose and throat specialist.

A photocopy of a certificate displayed on the wall of the Mama Lucy clinic showed he graduated as a doctor from the University of Nairobi in 1981. Another showed he was licensed as a medical practitioner in 1983.

Mr Ochieng gave the investigators- from the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board – Dr Njoroge’s mobile phone number, which the board’s executive officer Daniel Yumbya called and verified it belonged to him.

The doctor however denied any links to the clinic but, Mr Yumbya said, was unable to explain why Mr Ochieng had his phone number.

Yesterday, the woman at the centre of the miracle birth claims – Mrs Eddah Odera, who was present during the raids – said she had given birth to the majority of her 13 children at the two clinics between 1999 and 2004. Two of the children, she revealed yesterday, had died and only 11 (not 13 as originally reported) had been taken into protective custody by police.

Birth register

The clinic’s Mr Ochieng could not explain why medical records for the dates when the “miracle babies” were said to have been born had apparently been torn from the birth register.

According to Mrs Odera’s husband, Michael, his wife, who is past her menopause, gave birth to the babies as follows:

Daniel Wasonga (June 22, 1999); John Okoth (May 5, 2000); Mary Adhiambo (Sept 2, 2000); James Juma (Dec 23, 2000); Simon Siam (July 10, 2001); Rachel Achieng (Sept 11, 2001); Paul Ochieng (Dec 20, 2001); Grace Akeyo (March 15, 2002), Ruth Apiyo (Sept 22, 2002); Dorothy Akinyi (April 14, 2003); Stephen Okoyo (Sept 6, 2003); Jackline Amondi (Feb 14, 2003) and Sarah Amolo (June 4, 2004).

Dorothy Akinyi and Stephen Okoyo, whom she claims were born just four months apart, have since died, Mr Odera said.

His wife claims she is now pregnant with another “miracle baby”.

Mrs Odera’s babies were said to have been conceived at short intervals without contact with any man after evangelist Pastor Gilbert Deya, now a self-styled archbishop of the Deya Ministries, claimed to have cast out demons from her body with prayers.

Mr Deya told the Nation: “The simple fact is that these are miracle children born through the power of prayer.”

Mr and Mrs Odera, 11 children and two nannies supplied by the Deya Ministries, were picked up on Tuesday from their home in Mukeu Court, Komarock 3A, Nairobi, and taken to the city’s police headquarters to undergo DNA tests to establish their relationship to each other, if any.

The children were then taken into protective custody while police investigate fears that they might have been stolen as part of a baby trafficking racket.

At the Mama Lucy clinic yesterday a visiting board member, Dr Justus Njagi helped one patient, Ms Pauline Atieno, aged 20, deliver a baby after she was found in pain and unattended.

After examining her, Dr Njagi, a gynaecologist, accompanied her to Kenyatta National Hospital in a white van belonging to the board.

Dr Njagi said Ms Atieno later delivered a girl weighing 2.9kg following a caesarian section.

Another Mama Lucy patient, Ms Elka Achieng, who had given birth at the clinic on Tuesday night, was also admitted to KNH in serious condition after suffering heavy bleeding.

Dr Njagi said the patient, who collapsed while being transferred from the clinic, would require a blood transfusion. Her baby was also said to be in serious condition.

At the Huruma clinic, seven patients were found in the three poorly ventilated blue and white rooms.

In one of the rooms, about 7ft square, there were three beds with torn pillows while in the other two were two beds each.

In the clinic’s reception area which doubled as an examination room, a colour portrait of President Kibaki, a black and white Philips television set and a city council trade licence were side by side on a wall above the door.

A bathroom, two toilets and a kitchen are on the left side of the building. All the rooms had blue plastic matting on the floor.

Leading the board’s inspection team, Prof George Magoha and Mr Yumbya appeared to have difficulty finding details of the Mama Lucy clinic’s ownership from Mr Ochieng, after he introduced himself first as an administrator, then “a nurse aide,” and finally as a partner.

He at first appeared unable to explain why a rubber stamp in the clinic bore the name “Ochieng and Grace Medical Clinic,” but later claimed Dr Njoroge and this Grace were partners.

It was Mr Ochieng who on Monday when Mrs Odera’s claims of miracle births first became public asked journalists to give him until Friday to find the medical records of the children.

A nursing student, Ms Phanice Omwomi, 24, however, then identified Mr Ochieng as the resident nurse.

Ms Omwomi, who is studying nursing at the Ball World Mission in Bukura Road, Kakamega, said she had paid Sh2,000 a month as an “attachment fee” to Mr Ochieng.

The board members promised to secure her another attachment in a recognised clinic or hospital.

Prof Magoha said he was concerned to find that one of the patients had a drip attached to her arm.

“Only a qualified doctor is allowed to attach a drip on a patient’s arm,” he said.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Nation, Kenya
Aug. 19, 2004
Mike Mwaniki

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday August 19, 2004.
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